About The Project

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 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.

Traditional Medicine Services in Bhutan

In 1967, the Third King of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck commanded the health department to establish a traditional medicine system for the welfare of the Bhutanese people and to preserve its rich culture and tradition. Accordingly, an indigenous dispensary was opened on June 28, 1968, at Dechencholing in Thimphu, and the medicinal herbs were collected from Lingzhi and Langthel in Trongsa. Since then, traditional medical services has grown rapidly over the years. Today, there are 51 traditional medicine units attached to the district hospitals and basic health units across Bhutan.

The Bhutan Foundation is pleased to partner with the Faculty of Traditional Medicine (FoTM) under the Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB) to establish a medicinal herb garden and Tanadugphodrang (Paradise of Medicinal Buddha) at the Faculty of Traditional Medicine in Thimphu, Bhutan.

Medicinal Herb Garden

Most of the medicinal species are found in hard-to-reach highlands in the central and southern foothills of Bhutan. The Faculty of Traditional Medicine under the auspices of KGUMSB take their students on field trips to observe and identify medicinal plant species. But the difficulty of travel to the remote highlands limits faculty and students to only one or two visits during the training period. The establishment of a medicinal herb garden at the Institute for Traditional Medicine will enable daily access to student learning and training based on the bSo-rig pharmacopoeia and will house more than 100 rare and threatened medicinal plant species. The project puts a special focus on conservation and sustainability of the rare and threatened medicinal plant species.

Establishment of Tanadugphodrang

The other part of the project is the establishment of a Tanadugphodrang based on bSowa Rigpa, the Traditional Bhutanese Medicine text. In the Buddhist traditional texts, the Tanadugphodrang is the paradise in which the Buddha identified different medicinal plants in the four directions (east, west, north, and south). The establishment of a physical Tanadugphodrang will enable students to practically learn and understand the origin and diversity of traditional medicine. The establishment of Tanadugphodrang will be the first and only one of its kind in Bhutan.

THE TANADUNGPHODRANG WILL BE THE FIRST AND ONLY ONE OF ITS KIND TO BE BUILT IN BHUTAN.

Project Updates

February 5, 2018

The Faculty of Traditional Medicine (FoTM) and the Bhutan Foundation inaugurated the Tanadugphodrang.

June 3, 2017

Fifty species of medical seedlings have been collected from Lingzhi. The staff members from the Faculty of Traditional Medicine (FoTM) were engaged in collecting the medical seedlings from May 25, 2017 until June 3, 2017. The medical seedlings then were planted in the newly developed garden with help from the students. So far, 50 percent of the medical seedlings have been collected.

January 30, 2017

The Bhutan Foundation signed a two-year project agreement with the Faculty of Traditional Medicine under the Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB) for the establishment of a Medicinal Herb Garden and Tanadugphodrang (Paradise of Medicinal Buddha) at the Faculty of Traditional Medicine in Thimphu.

Project Stats

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 medicine education and research.

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