Revealing the Art of the Medicine Buddha

November 7 - 9, 1998; Washington, D.C., USA

A three day international congress, to initiate a dialogue between traditional Tibetan Medicine and  Western Science, has been convened in Washington, DC on November 7-9, 1998. This was  the first  world congress dedicated specifically to Tibetan Medicine.

The Tibetan system ranks among one of the oldest, continuously used medical systems in the world. As one of Asia's most  important and successful medical traditions, Tibetan medicine has yet to take its place in the history of medicine, and could  contribute significantly to our expanding understanding of health and healing.

The International Congress on Tibetan Medicine have provide, for the first time, a global forum for: 
Practitioners of traditional Tibetan medicine from around the world to compare their diverse practices, methodology, and  adaptations,
the presentation of the latest research initiatives

serious dialogue between traditional Tibetan medical practitioners and western scholars, scientists and clinicians

establishing bio-diversity and medicinal plant conservation programs in the Himalayan regions
identifying and establishing future research and international action plans.

Proof of Effectiveness of Tibetan Herbal Formulas by Western Science Summary in English

More than 1,000 delegates comprising, scientists and physicians from Europe, Asia and the US met in Washington from November 7 to 9, 1998 in order to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western medical systems and their respective traditions and cultures.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama stressed the need for dialogue in the interests of patients in his introductory remarks presented to more than 1600 conference participants.

“Our medical system with its thousand of years of tradition can make an important contribution to the modern world. For that reason, it is important that we understand the efficacy of our therapies such as herbal formulas. We need rigorous scientific programs to make sure that the herbal preparations are thoroughly analysed.”

The spiritual and political leader of the Tibetans called for scientific research into traditional healing methods.

The Dalai Lama said that patients from the West should be able to benefit from the Tibetan medical system independently of the spiritual and religious components. In line with this a number of research results were presented at the Congress confirming the potential of Tibetan pharmacology.

The acceptance of Tibetan multi-compound herbal preparations by Western medicine is still low. While conventional medicine in the West usually relies on standardised mono-substances, traditional Tibetan physicians use combinations of herbs with multiple compounds.

Congress delegates heard of research on Padma 28, a Tibetan herbal preparation consisting of 21 herbs [Padma AG, Zürich, Switzerland] This preparation has been the subject of numerous scientific studies into conditions such as intermittent claudication and other conditions that are a result of oxidative stress. Between 1 and 2 percent of the body’s oxygen intake is not transformed to water but to the so-called free radicals. Free radicals can damage proteins, lipids and DNA by the oxidation process. This oxidation process is responsible for many conditions. Padma 28 has been shown to have the potential to neutralise free radicals. 

Leading microbiologist from the Hebrew University, Professor Isaac Ginsburg, said: “Today we are aware of around 100 conditions resulting from oxidation. Tibetan herbal preparations are particularly important for the future because we are at the end of the era of antibiotics. Inflammations and oxidative processes are usually caused by a broad spectrum of harmful substances, this is why they have to be treated by multi-compound preparations. There is not one omnipotent substance that could do this.”

Kaj Winther, Director of Research at the Thrombosis Centre and Coagulation Laboratory, University of Copenhagen, said that Padma 28 is effective in the treatment of intermittent claudication and this has been proved by clinical studies. One criteria used to assess the seriousness of this illness is to measure the patient’s pain-free walking distance. Winther reported that patients treated with Padma 28 were able to walk twice as far as the placebo control group. Winther’s team carried out their work on 36 patients over 4 months. A similar study is currently underway at the Middlesex Hospital, London in clinical trails involving 90 patients. The trials are due to be completed in December 1998 and the results will be published early in 1999.

Dr Sarah Sallon, founding Director of the Natural Medicine Research Unit of the Hadassah Medical Organisation, Jerusalem, has also carried out trials on Padma 28.  Her studies showed that after treatment with Padma 28 patients were not only able to walk longer distances but their blood pressure improved as did their blood flow. 

“We will need a new approach to formulation of treatments”, said Herbert Schwabl, Swiss Biochemist and Executive Director of Padma Inc. “After all, Western medicine has also started to use combinations of substances, for example in the treatment of H. Pylori and AIDS. Multi-factoral diseases need therapies with multiple components”

Schwabl concluded. “The Tibetan medical practitioners have known this for years. We can benefit from this knowledge in the West.

Further information:
B&K Kommunikation Dr. Birgit Kofler
Tel.: 0043-1-319 43 78,  Fax: 0043-1-319 43 78-20