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Keywords:

  • ethnopharmacology;
  • medicinal plants;
  • neuropsychiatric plants;
  • Tibetan medicine;
  • traditional medicine;
  • Men-Tsee-Khang

The aim of the present study was to identify formulas used at Men-Tsee-Khang (Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute), India, for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders and to compare the Tibetan usage of particular ingredients with pharmacological data from the scientific database. Using ethnographic methods, five doctors were selected and interviewed. A correlation was observed between central nervous system disorders and rLung, one of the three humors in Tibetan medicine, which imbalance is the source of mental disorders, and ten multi-ingredient formulas used to treat the imbalance of this particular humor were identified. These formulas utilize 61 ingredients; among them were 48 plant species. Each formula treats several symptoms related to rLung imbalance, so the plants may have therapeutic uses distinct from those of the formulas in which they are included. Myristica fragrans, nutmeg, is contained in 100% of the formulas, and its seeds exhibit stimulant and depressant actions affecting the central nervous system. Preclinical and clinical data from the scientific literature indicate that all of the formulas include ingredients with neuropsychiatric action and corroborate the therapeutic use of 75.6% of the plants. These findings indicate a level of congruence between the therapeutic uses of particular plant species in Tibetan and Western medicines. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.