NITM: Trainees of the national institute of traditional medicine (NITM) identified more than 230 new medicinal herbs during their trip to Lingshi last month.
According to their curriculum, the trainees of NITM have to travel to both low and high altitude places in the country every year to identify medicinal herbs. The trainees identify at least 200 new medicinal herbs annually, of which some 130 herbs are used to produce traditional medicines at the Menjong Sorig pharmaceuticals, under the department of medical services in Thimphu.
The 22 trainees, 10 menpas and 12 traditional physicians, and their lecturer were in Lingshi, some 5,000m above sea level, from August 13 to September 2. During their stay there, they combed Cheula and Gangbula areas, the places where medicinal herbs grow in the wild.
NITM’s traditional physician and lecturer, Sangay Wangdi, said the main purpose of initiating the field study is to help trainees identify varieties of medicinal herbs, and know their values in both theory and practical.
The medicinal herbs are identified through their shapes, colour, size, smell, and the records they have on the herbs.
He said the trainees identified common traditional medicinal herbs like Jagoed poe, Honglen, karpochigthup, bongnganagpo, which are used as ingredients to make medicines for cough and cold. They also identified some rare medicinal herb species called daryaken and jingsing.
Sangay Wangdi said August is the season for identifying high altitude medicinal herbs, and they move to low altitude places like Gelephu in October. “During that period, most medicinal herbs are blooming, making it easy to identify,” he said.
A traditional physician trainee of NITM, Phuntsho Wangdi, who was in Lingshi with the team, said the field trip provides them with a good opportunity to learn about medicinal herbs.
Some of the medicinal herbs have also been planted at Yoeselpang in Hongtsho to see if it could grow in Lingshi. Besides this, the trainees also go on field trips for hot water spring in the country in November, Dungtsho Sangay Wangdi said.
By Kezang Dorji