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Bhutanese herbal medicine helps to give up drinking and smoking

A pure indigenous herbal medicine could help alcoholics and smokers give up drinking and smoking, according to Dungtsho Tandin Phurba, chief Traditional Physician from the Department of Traditional Medicine Services, Kawajangsa, Ministry of Health.

People in large numbers queued outside Dungtsho’s chamber to get medicine for giving up drinking and smoking. Yonten Phuntsho from Changzamtog who stood third in the line said, “I have tried few times to just cut down, and drink more sensibly like other people but I couldn’t. I drank excessively from the moment I had my first drink aged 18.Five years later, I still didn’t think I had a problem. I thought I drank because I was anxious or depressed, because my girlfriend left me, because my football team lost, any excuse was valid in my mind. But my drinking affected my professional and personal life and I was unable to hold down jobs or relationships. So I am here to stop drinking alcohol”.

Sangay Chopel said, “To quit smoking, I even tried Electronic Cigarette (e-cigarette), a healthy alternative to smoking cancer-ridden cigarette. It is a new revolutionary way of consuming nicotine and flavors to help wean off cigarettes. It did help me but not so much. I am hoping that this traditional herbal medicine wouldn’t disappoint me”.

Dungtsho Tandin said, “We all know that drinking alcohol and smoking cigarette is harmful to our health. Our Government also imposes heavy tax on alcohol to control access and consumption of alcohol but still there are increasing numbers of people who consume alcohol. So in 2012 at Paro hospital, I tested this medicine with a group of people chewing tobacco locally known as baba and all of them said there was a significant beneficial effect on tobacco abuse, which lasted several months after the medicine was taken. This is as good as anything we have got”.

He added, “The herbal medicine would not only help people give up drinking and smoking but it is also helpful to those chewing doma. It is not mandatory for people to completely cut off doma because doma doesn’t affect our health unlike drinking and smoking. The medicine also helps cure stomach and mouth ulcer and it is good for liver too”.

Dungtsho mentioned, “We also provide medicines to treat high blood pressure and diabetes. Pharmaceutical drugs like aternolol oral and metformin which the hospital provides for high blood pressure and diabetes have adverse side effects whereas the traditional herbal medicines are well tolerated by the patients with fewer or no unintended consequences and maybe safe to use”.

Sonam Rinchen said, “Instead of drinking alcohol, I took the medicine as instructed by the Dungtsho. Alcoholism is a devastating condition that can lead to many physical and mental health problems and even death. This traditional herbal medicine is a new hope”.

Dungtsho instructed the people on how to take the medicine.

The medicine is distributed in all the 20 Dzongkhags and will also distributed to students.

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3 comments

  1. Kinzang Wangdi

    I believe that traditional medicine does a good job in helping patients and I make this comment not to say it’s bad or to go against.
    I’ve seen and come across patients saying they benefited from traditional medicine in reducing their symptoms related to arthritis. But when it comes to diabetes and hypertension, I think evidence-based medicines work and help patients better. I’ve come across patients who’ve opted for traditional medicine to treat hypertension and in most, the blood pressure treatment targets aren’t met.

    And I personally find the comment saying that anti-diabetic and hypertensive medications have side effects and that traditional medicine is well tolerated, worrisome. Our people/patients already have certain beliefs and misunderstanding that these medicines destroy their kidneys and all. And this comment is feeding on that superstition. The medicines that we prescribe are foreign substances so they are bound to affect our bodies to certain extents. Yes there are serious side effects in some but the side effects profile of these medicines are all known and predictable in most cases. There are many drug classes for a single disease entity and we prescribe medicines on an individual basis and stop them if the effects are intolerable. And I must say, patients tolerate these medicines well. All these medicines are evidence-based and given only if the benefits outweigh risks or harm.
    So please do not say that western medicine has side effects and traditional medicines are better. The side effects profile of traditional medicines aren’t properly known.
    Let’s collaborate and work together in helping patients to make their life better. I believe cross-referral and timely assessment will tremendously help.

  2. Chencho Dendup

    Dr i really need this medicine to avoid my father n brother being all the time drunk la…pl provide me ur phone number plz…really gona help me la

  3. Is a good ideas and solution for heavy drinker and smoker’s . so I had my friends who is addicted to smoking, so I’ll directly or indirectly help him. So is that herbal medicine is free of cost or do we need to pay for it.?

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