Traditional Hospital

Institute of Traditional Medicine Services, located near National Library supplies traditional medicines and medical services, trains doctors, and conducts research on traditional medicinal plants to identify the ingredients and develop new products. The Institute has a library dating back to around 1616, when Tibetan Buddhism was introduced to Bhutan. The books and recipes were collected from monasteries where scholars had preserved the medical lore. In 1967 the king directed the Health Department of Bhutan to establish a traditional medicine system for the welfare of Bhutanese people and to preserve the Bhutanese traditional culture. An Indigenous Dispensary was opened in 1968, staffed by doctors trained in Tibet. In 1988 it was upgraded to the Institute of Traditional Medicine Services. In parallel, smaller traditional medical centers have been opened across the country, and were available in all districts of Bhutan by the end of 2001. These centers are integrated into the National Health Service, and are attached to the district hospitals. The institute dispenses traditional medicines produced in its laboratories from minerals, animal parts, precious metals, gems and plants. Generally the patient should abstain from meat and alcohol during the medical course. Over 40,000 patients are treated annually by the institute’s hospital in Thimphu and around 100,000 nationwide.