Dr. Trogawa Rinpoche
Student: Which foods are harmful for patients afflicted with diabetes?
Rinpoche: Sweets of every kind, which includes potatoes, sweet potatoes, roasted food, Tibetan tsampa, roasted wheat or corn, and popcorn are detrimental for diabetics. Tibetan doctors also tell their patients not to consume white rice. Anyone with only a tendency to develop diabetes may have brown rice cooked in lots of water, though. Cooked corn on the cob is very good for those suffering under diabetes. What do Western doctors say?
Student: I can’t say much about corn, but we recommend that our
patients reserve one day for rice only, and usually it is a day of white
Rinpoche: Is there a difference between the rice and corn in the East and West?
Student: European corn is much sweeter. Rice is mainly recommended for overweight patients because it flushes out deposits, so it seems to be a general point of view.
Rinpoche: Diabetics should not be too active nor too lazy. Those
suffering from weak kidneys should not stand or may not sit too long at
a stretch. They may not be pushed around when under stress.
Question: You said that diabetics should not be overactive. Western doctors suggest that diabetics should take a long walk after each meal and exercise regularly. It has been proved that they need less insulin if they do. Furthermore, they should have smaller meals more often each day. Would you comment on that?
Rinpoche: Yes, that is my opinion too. I also tell my diabetics patients to have many small meals stretched over the day. Physical exercise after a meal reduces the production of phlegm and therefore of sugar, the reason why patients need less insulin if they exercise after meals. I think a good walk after each meal will do.
Question: Tibetan medicine does not prescribe insulin. How
would a Tibetan doctor treat a diabetics patient who, according to Western
interpretation, would die without insulin?
Rinpoche: We prescribe very strong medication that must be taken very often and at regular intervals during the day.
Question: Do diabetics who have been sick for a long time develop
neuropathy that starts with a prickling feeling and numbness in fingers
and toes and ends in extreme pain? Does the disease impair eyesight and
eventually lead to blindness?
Rinpoche: I have noticed that patients afflicted by diabetes for a long time do go blind. According to the Tibetan medical sources, this type of blindness arises from excessive phlegm that slowly spreads into the eyes.
All neurological disorders are treated separately in the Tibetan tradition. Neurological injuries that are born from cold can have something to do with diabetes. A patient first has to have suffered the cold form of diabetes before his or her nerves are damaged and eventually destroyed.
Nyen Diseases in Tibetan Medicine,
Causes of Mental Disorders According to the Tibetan Medical Tradition, Dr. Trogawa
Sleep and the Inner Landscape,
An Interview about
Dreams and Tibetan Medicine with
the Tibetan Physician, Dr. Yeshe Dhonden
An Interview with Eliot Tokar regarding his studies with Dr. Trogawa, Dr. Dhonden and others (pdf)
The Principles of Tibetan Medicine in the Context of American Healthcare, Eliot Tokar (pdf)
and Progress: Using Tibetan Medicine as a Model
to Define a Progressive Role for Traditional Asian Medicine in Modern Healthcare Eliot Tokar (pdf)
Pictures from Tibet and Ladakh Circa 1986
Dr. Trogawa-Memorial Blog
The Household Physician
Medicine Buddha holding myrobalan
"Tibetan incense, medicinal powder, and Tibetan 'precious pills' are in
great demand here," said one police officer who asked not to be named.
"People believe that it can prevent the virus. And SARS hasn't spread to Tibet."
Radio Free Asia-May 7, 2003
Handbook of Traditional Tibetan Drugs:
Nomenclature,Composition, Use and Dosage
1912 Tibet Stamp Sheet Originals
From Which Our Reprints Have Been Made
The Household Physician
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