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Traditional Mongolian medicine developed over many years among the Mongolian people. Many Mongolian doctors (emchis) became so adept that they became well known in Tibet and China.
The Mongols developed their system of medicine according to their own culture and beliefs. Mongolian traditional medicine became famous, and some Dalai Lamas counted Emchis among their personal physicians.
In China, the Manchu kings used to employ emchis, who were said to be skilled at diagnosis, examining the stool, urine and pulse to arrive at a diagnosis.
Today Mongolia is one of the few countries which officially supports its traditional system of medicine. However, Inner Mongolia, ruled by China, does not support Mongolian Traditional medicine, and has even imprisoned people for practising it.
Mongolian medical literature mentions the use of minerals in medicine, usually in the form of powdered metals or stones.
Plants were the mainstay of Mongolian medicine; legend had it that any plant could be used as a medicine. An emchi is quoted as saying:
- All those flowers, on which butterflies sit, are ready medicine for various diseases. One can eat such flowers without any hesitation. A flower rejected by the butterflies is poisonous, but it can become medicine, when it is properly composed.
The Mongolian tradition of Moxibustion (burning mugwort over acupuncture points) was developed in Mongolia and later incorporated into Tibetan medicine.
One unusual aspect of Mongolian mecicine is the use of water as a medicine. Water was collected from any source, including the sea, and stored for many years until ready for use. Acidity and other stomach upsets were said to be amenable to water treatments.
Bone setting is a branch of Mongolian medicine carried out by Bariachis - specialist bone setters. They work without medicines or instruments. Instead they rely on physiotherapy to manipulate bones back to their proper position. Bariachis are laymen, without medical training, and are born into the job, following the family tradition. It appears that this traditional practice is in decline, and that no scientific research has been carried out into it.
Dom is the tradition of household cures, many based simply on superstition - one instance being that a picture of a donkey hung over a child's bed will help it sleep. Counting the frequency of breathing is also stated to be a relief for psychological problems and distress.
- Traditional Chinese medicine
- Traditional Tibetan medicine
- Traditional Mongolian medicine, references to research papers
- Memoir of a Mongolian Lama, discussing traditional medicine
- Historical development of the tradition
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