Tibetan medical drugs usually contain at least five and often 15-20 or even more ingredients. They are mostly of plant origin, but also include stone minerals. According to Tibetan science, a specific formula is composed according to the nature of the disease (i.e. the specific imbalance between the three bodily energies rLung, Tripa and Beken) as well as the taste, color and textual characteristics of the raw materials. Through these properties, the effect of a medicine on the patient’s energy balance can be deduced.
With regards to analytical science, the number of active chemical compounds in each type of medicine is staggering. Taking into account the hundreds of chemical constituents in a single isolated herbal ingredient, the number of different active chemical substances in a typical Tibetan formula with 15 to 25 ingredients would total in the thousands. Therefore, it can be claimed that Tibetan formulas of this complexity exhibit multi-target modes of action. The different chemical components amplify or inhibit some activities of other ingredients, so that Tibetan multicompounds can rightly be considered as multi-target medical remedies achieving their overall clinical effects by partially inhibiting some metabolic and pathogenic processes while enhancing others.
This assumption is supported by the results of scientific research on PADMA 28 in chronic inflammatory diseases, namely arteriosclerosis. Extensive research over the past 30 years has shown the preparation to affect multiple sites of action and to do so at different stages in the development of astheromatous plaque. A synopsis of the scientific data shows a whole spectrum of anti-astherogenic activities and helps explain some of the biochemical mechanisms behind the clinical effects of the multi-target mode of action. Tibetan formulas act like an entire bunch of keys, simultaneously opening many locks.
It must be emphasized that Tibetan medical drugs are also in some way spiritually charged. The production of a herbal component is a time-consuming, complicated and complex process. Before the collection of herbs begins, certain prayer and sacrifice rituals have to be held in which the Buddhas and nature spirits are asked to give their permission. Otherwise, thoughtless picking would be considered as theft. Furthermore there are several criteria that need to be considered including choosing the right point on the compass, the slope to be chosen, etc. While picking, cleaning, washing and drying herbs, the Medicine Buddha mantra must be chanted continuously. The composition of a particular medicine is accompanied by a specific and extensive prayer ritual and the recitation of additional prayers. Blessed water is used to bind the individual herbs. At the end, a mandala is created with the Tibetan medical herbs in its center and a one-week-long prayer ritual is performed in order to bless the medicine and its potential recipient. According to an ancient text, the blessing is so strong that the medicine’s recipient will not take birth in the lower realms of being.