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August 27, 1973

Tibetan Medicine Illustrated in Original Texts

Author Affiliations

Brown University Providence, RI

JAMA. 1973;225(9):1129. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220370065039

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This volume, published by the Wellcome Institute of the History of Medicine conjointly with the University of California Press, is a curious contribution to the history of medicine. It represents the attempt of a Tibetan scholar to describe to the West his culture's medical tradition. This worthy objective is approached in three different ways: by means of a history of Tibetan medicine (pp 8-28); by means of English versions of some chapters of the rGyud-bzhi, the standard medical treatise in Tibetan (pp 29-97); and by means of a translation of the biography of an early Tibetan physician, gYu-thog (pp 143-327). In addition there are provided a bibliography of Western literature on Tibetan medicine (pp 98-102), some inadequately explained anatomical drawings (pp 104-141), a glossary of Tibetan terms (pp 328-329), and an index of medical topics (pp 331-340).

Unfortunately, the history is purest fancy and is of interest only as an