Tsewang Dolkar Khangkar was born in 1959 in Kuyrong, Tibet. He lives in India and is a doctor of traditional Tibetan medicine. At the age of two, he and his mother, the famous Tibetan doctor Dolma Dolkar, fled to India from Tibet through Nepal, crossing the Himalayas
Tsewang Dolkar taught pulse reading, medicinal plants and minerals used in traditional Tibetan medicine and Tibetan astrology and pharmacy. In 1981, he established the "Dolkar Herbal Medicine Clinic" in New Delhi. She has written several books on Tibetan medicine. Recognized as a cancer specialist.
- Dr Dolkar, you have a family tradition in Tibetan medicine. They say you follow in your father's footsteps…
- Both my mother and father are Tibetan doctors. In fact, my mother is very famous and people call her the "Mother of Tibetan Medicine". I became a Tibetan doctor not by choice. I was guided on this path by my family and by a Tibetan master who insisted that my parents make me like them, so that there would be continuity. My dream was just to get married and have babies. I started working in Delhi as a Tibetan doctor and made this clinic.
Gathering the Medicinal Plants
What is characteristic of Tibetan medicine? What methods of treatment are applied in it?
- In Tibetan medicine, diagnoses are made based on the analysis of the pulse, urine and a thorough conversation with the patient - where is the pain, before, now… That is, these three things are the basis of Tibetan diagnostics. But I benefit from medical analyzes and documents - ie. I make my patients take medical tests, show them to me, and after a while repeat them so that I can extract the maximum information about the patient's condition.
You diagnose mostly by pulse. Can you explain what this method consists of, what information the pulse gives about the person?
- The pulse gives all the information about the patient's condition and about the disease. Unlike classical medicine, the study of the pulse allows the doctor to determine what diseases the patient has suffered from, what stage they are at the moment, how they will develop if the necessary measures are not taken to prevent them, as well as to prescribe treatment.
Here, in the big city, things are different compared to Tibet, which is a small village and you know all the people and hence the characteristics of the place where they live. And this leads to significantly fewer errors in diagnosis. The other important thing about the diagnosis in Tibetan medicine is to do it early in the morning, because only then can the most adequate diagnosis be made. Here in the early morning I can see no more than three people. So this nowadays cannot be fulfilled. That's why I make the diagnosis by examining the pulse of the patients, but I require medical tests to be able to confirm it.
Do you only treat with herbs or do you also use synthetic ingredients? Where and how do you prepare your medicines?
- I personally only use herbs. But in Tibetan medicine there are three currents - treatment with herbs, with animal substances or with minerals. I prefer herbs because 80 percent of my patients are Indian and they are vegetarian. And I have to respect that. The second thing is that Tibet is at a much higher altitude and has less bacteria, whereas here the altitude is twice as low and that means more bacteria. I prepare the medicines in the state of Himachal, also called the "land of the snowy mountains" in North-West India. We collect the herbs high in the mountains and I often go there to participate in the preparation of the medicines. I have people that I work with, but it's important to me to make sure that the medicinal ingredients of the plants are properly extracted and that everything is fine. My name is behind this process, and for me the most important thing is the he alth of the patients.
With his mother, also a famous doctor of Tibetan medicine
There are always a lot of people in your clinic… What are the most common diseases?
- These days it seems to be the cancers. They are increasing more and more. For example, 40% of my patients do not come here, they are from different countries and I treat them remotely based on the medical epicrisis and results. If the information about a particular disease is not enough, I request more data to be of maximum help with the treatment. Even here and in Mumbai 80% of my cases are cancer ailments. The number of neurological diseases is also increasing.
The readers of our newspaper are mostly old people, what advice would you give them?
- The most important thing is to be happy, because otherwise there is a real risk of early memory loss, of diseases of the nervous and hormonal systems.
The second is the food. These days, people are swayed by something - someone said that it is very useful, that it is very good to eat, and everyone starts eating it. Everything is good because of something specific, not in principle. If you take vitamins, that's good, but with excessive use, they even become toxic. That's why I advise to eat in moderation. Physical activity yes, but let's not be machines. Having a hobby like mushroom picking, cycling, swimming, dancing… these are exercises. But everything should be moderate and the body should not be forced
Everything in Tibetan medicine must be consistent because each element complements the others - too much "fire" is a problem, too much "water" is also a problem. Our body and our heart rate change depending on the weather. If the weather changes, you have to change your diet to balance the state of the body. In the West they say - raw food is very good, but in countries like mine, raw food is not good. We need heat-treated food, with more fat, because the heat burns a lot of calories. Therefore, I advise that we also determine our diet according to the place in which we live.
What is the Tibetan recipe for long life?
- Calmness, to eat in moderation, to live in harmony with nature, not if we feel uncomfortable, to reach for medication. We use a lot of chemicals in plants, the soil changes, hence the composition of the water changes… If our body becomes more ascetic, we will be able to resist more diseases. In ancient times, there was less disease and people lived perhaps shorter but he althier lives. So let's not go against nature!