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Monday, November 5, 2012

Ban on industrial use of mercury to affect Traditional Medicine.



The 2nd International Conference on Tibetan Medicine concluded recently in the exile Tibetan headquarters of Dharamshala after three days (27th – 29th October 2012) of in depth discussions and presentations on various aspects of the ancient Tibetan medical system. The conference, jointly organised by the Central Council of Tibetan Medicine, Men-Tsee-Khang, Chakpori Medical Institute, Darjeeling and Department of Sowa Rigpa of the Central University of Tibetan Studies, Varanasi, was held at the Sarah College for Higher Tibetan Studies. More than 300 doctors, representing different medical systems from all over the world, including India, US, Israel, Russia, Mongolia, Spain, Latvia, Italy, China, and Japan among others took part in the conference. According to the organisers, the objective of the conference is to “preserve and promote the Tibetan medical system, to enhance the interaction among Tibetan medical doctors, and to get acquainted with the number of researches which have gone on to prove the authenticity and effectiveness of Tibetan medicine.”The first international conference on Tibetan medicine was held over a thousand years ago at Samye, central Tibet in the year 728 A.D. by Trisong Deutsen, the 37th King of Tibet.

Sowa Rigpa, the Tibetan science of healing is a unique medical system dating back more than 2500 years. With the Buddhist philosophy as its backbone, this system of medicine is influenced by the religion, culture, and environment of Tibet. The commonalities in the basic principles of Tibetian medicine and Siddha medicine was highlighted. Some of the major topics discussed during the conference included, History and Basic Principles of Tibetan Medicine, Research Methodology, Medicinal Herbs and Plants, Pregnancy and Child Care, Ethics of Physician, and State of Tibetan Medicine around the world. In the plenary Sessions were dedicated for deliberations on the salient features of different traditional medical systems including Siddha, Ayurveda, Mongolian and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Dr. D.Natasagdorj, Head of the Training Centre of  Mangolian Traditional medicine, Dr.Hsu, Sheng- Feng of Director of  Graduate Institute of Acupuncture Chinese, Taiwan, Dr. Balendu Prakasah, Ayurvedic physician from Dehuradoon, Dr.Dorji Wangchuk Director, National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Bhutan, Dr Sarah Sallon, Director, Natural Medicine Research Centre, Jerusalem, Israel and Dr.T.Thirunarayanan, Siddha Physician  of Centre for Traditional Medicine and Research, Chennai delivered lectures in the Plenary session.

H.H.Dalailama in his address to the delegates stressed the need for working together with Indian Medicine researchers to further enrich Tibetian medicine since, the Dept. of AYUSH has included Sowrigpa in the Indian Medical council Act in 2010. He also stressed  Compassion to fellow human beings as the main virtue of Tibetian medicine and adivised all medical personnel to follow it in letter and spirit.
Concerns were also expressed about the use of mercury in traditional medicines and the proposed ban on mercury for industrial use by UN, which will take out many of the traditional medicines. Research studies which clearly confirms the safety of detoxified mercurial salts used  in Traditional medicines and efforts should be taken by all stake holders to ensure the ban on element mercury should not affect the use of mercury ores used by Traditional medicines, including Siddha, Ayurveda, Sowrigpa, Manba Datsan and Chinese Medicine.