Tibetan Medicine and Constitutional Doctrine


The Tibetan Medicine and constitutional doctrine is a holistic medical and nutrition system based on the five elements: earth, water, fire, wind, and space.

Macrocosm or microcosm, everything comprises these five basic forces, and they correspond with each other. Through these five elements, humans are in contact with the world and the universe.

Through the same five basic elements, Tibetan doctors can access an illness and remedies. With their aide, the vitality of the spirit and the body can be influenced. Tibetan Medicine and constitutional teachings seek the internal balance of power in the body. The core of this teaching is a type-friendly diet and using mostly herbal mixture of materials.

They comprise a variety of natural products, which support each other in their effect and balance possible adverse side effects. This herbal mixture of materials is working at the same time on multiple levels in the body and has few side effects.


The 5 elements manifest themselves in humans through the three dynamic principles, Lung, Tripa and Beken. Lung stands for the moving, Tripa for the warming principle, and Beken reflects the stabilizing and cooling aspect in the organism.

If the three principles are in balance, both the body and the mind are healthy. Disharmony initially expresses itself with an energetic imbalance and can become a physical or psychological disorder, which, in the worst case, becomes a disease.

From the Tibetan viewpoint, the cause of all diseases is the “ignorance” of the individual. It causes an illusion of separation of the human being from his environment.

With the perception of “I” and “Mine”, the central three “mind poisons” arise: greed, hatred, and ignorance. They are the proximate cause of the imbalance of Lung, Tripa, and Beken.

External factors, like individual conduct, nutrition, environmental influence, and climatic conditions, influence them. So, the Lung in the body is, for example, increased in a cold windy place.

Tripa accumulates in dry hot places, and the principle of Beken multiplies in damp, humid, or cold regions. The goal of Tibetan Medicine and the constitutional rule is to keep all three principles of the body in balance.


  • Element: Air
  • Mental poison conforming to the principle: Greed
  • Manifestation in the body as movement.
  • Properties: light, flexible, cold, rough, dry


  • Element: Fire
  • Mental poison conforming to the principle: Hatred
  • Manifestation in the body as heat.
  • Properties: hot, spicy, dry, rough, light, oily, mobile


  • Elements: Earth and Water
  • Mental poison conforming to the principle: Ignorance
  • Manifestation in the body as coolness, liquid
  • Properties: heavy, stable, dull, fine, oily, liquid, cool, heavy, dull, flexible


Tibetan Medicine and constitution doctrine advise changing the behavior or treatment if the three bodily energies are out of balance. To clarify this, the Tibetan doctor or expert first asks questions about the behavior and the diet of the patients. His proposals for possible behavior modification or a change in diet are an important component of the therapy.

After the query, a Tibetan doctor deepens his first impression with a pulse diagnosis. It is the most important method of diagnosis in Tibetan Medicine. The Tibetan physician feels several qualities of the beat of the pulse, which, like the waves of the sea, can take on a wide variety of shapes and forms.

The physician can determine which of the three principles of the body are imbalanced and what organ is affected by the different types of pulse. To differentiate between the different pulse waves and come to a diagnosis based on the different pulse waves, a Tibetan physician needs much practice and long years of experience and training.

The tongue and urine diagnosis round out the education of the physician. With these three methods of investigation, he receives differentiated information about the general energetic condition of the patient and the state of each organ.

On YouTube [film clip from the movie “The Knowledge of Healing” by Franz Reichle] Dr. Tenzin Choedrak, the late physician to his Holiness the Dalai Lama, explains the pulse diagnosis.


According to the understanding of Tibetan Medicine and Constitution, many complaints and diseases are due to poor diet and living habits. An adjustment to optimal conditions is a first therapeutic step. Different inner and outer therapies can be chosen from the Tibetan store of knowledge.

Among others, moxibustion belongs to the external therapies. It is a heat treatment of the meridian points to bring the flow of energy in motion and resolve blockages. Also, there are different forms of massage, compresses, and steam- and medicinal baths available. Tibetan substance mixtures in form of medicines are only used when the recommended behavior changes and/or outer therapies no longer suffice, or if the complaints are advanced.

Natural medicines, so-called substance mixtures, are the heart of Tibetan Medicine. With their help, the Tibetan doctor may trigger gentle impulses in the body and spirit and can promote the self-healing powers of the patient.

Traditionally, Tibetan Medicines are composed of plant, mineral, and animal components.

In the medicines and food supplements of PADMA, only plant products and mineral products can be found. Animal products are deliberately left out.

The cornerstone of traditional Tibetan Medicine was created in the 8th century AD. The first written basis, the “Gyüshi”, describes 84 000 illnesses and hundreds of herbal formulas. It is a standard of Tibetan Medicine.
To preserve the knowledge of Tibetan Medicine, PADMA has made an effort, since the beginning and into future, to promote scientific research into the healing properties of Tibetan formulas.