Introduction


Bhutan is a biodiversity hotspot with several endangered species of flora and fauna and more than 7,000 species of vascular plants. More than 600 medicinal plant species are identified in Bhutan, around half of which are currently used in preparing medicines. The Bhutanese practice of traditional practice of medicine dates back to the eighth century and still forms a significant part of basic health care, blending culture and healing tradition, in which Buddhism is the prevailing influence.

The Faculty of Traditional Medicine (FOTM) is the only training institute that offers education in gSo-ba Rig-pa, the traditional Bhutanese medicine, in Bhutan. The Bhutan Foundation supports FOTM programs that further research and expand knowledge on Bhutanese traditional medicine practices. We initially started by recreating the structure of the Tanadugphodrang, the paradise of the medicinal Buddha, which is the basis on which traditional medicine references are formed. The Foundation currently supports the following traditional medicine programs:

Medicinal Herb Garden

FOTM trains and produces traditional health-care providers for the country. As part of the training, students must learn about the different types of medicinal trees and plants found across Bhutan. In order to learn how to identify these plants, students have to travel to far and hard-to-reach areas. The Foundation helped establish a medicinal herb garden at the FTM in Thimphu, so that students can identify, grow, observe, and learn about medicinal plants.

High-Altitude Medicinal Plant Book

Traditional books from Tibet and Mongolia were used at the FOTM as resources and references since there were no textbooks published on high-altitude medicinal plants in Bhutan. In 2019, the Foundation supported the FOTM in researching, publishing, and printing the first resource book, Materia Medica on High Altitude Medicinal Plants in Bhutan. The book is currently published in the local language (Dzongkha) and is targeted to the FOTM’s students and local traditional medicine practitioners in Bhutan. We are currently raising funds to support the translation of the book from Dzongkha to English.

THE TANADUG PHODRANG IS THE FIRST AND ONLY ONE OF ITS KIND TO BE BUILT IN BHUTAN.

51
Traditional Medicine Units
215
Species of plants currently under use
200+
Species descriptions drafted
54
Traditional Medicine doctors

Did You Know?


Our Partners


The Bhutan Foundation is partnering with the Faculty of Traditional Medicine (FOTM) under Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB). The FOTM was established in 1968 under the visionary leadership of His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the third king of Bhutan. The project was initiated not only to provide holistic health care to the people of Bhutan but also to preserve and promote this traditional system of health care in the country. Today, FOTM is the only training institute that offers education in gSo-ba Rig-pa, the traditional Bhutanese medicine. The Institute of Traditional Medicine aspires to become a center of excellence in traditional medical education and research.

THERE ARE 15 TRADITIONAL MEDICINE UNITS IN ALL 20 DISTRICTS IN BHUTAN.

HOW YOU CAN HELP


FOTM is the only training institute that offers education in gSo-ba Rig-pa, the traditional Bhutanese medicine. The Institute of Traditional Medicine aspires to become a center of excellence in traditional medical education and research.

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