Data in Brief | VOL. 33

Dataset of Materia Medica in Sowa Rigpa: Tibetan Medicine Botanicals and Gawé Dorjé’s Classification System

Publication Date Nov 4, 2020


This article provides the most updated dataset of Latin botanical identifications for the materia medica in Tibetan medicine, known as Bo Luk Sowa Rigpa (Tib. Bod lugs gso ba rig pa), or the "Tibetan knowledge field of healing," often denoted in English simply as Sowa Rigpa. As one of the major scholarly Asian traditional medical systems, Sowa Rigpa is the principal health resource for populations across Tibetan regions of China, Mongolia, Bhutan, Nepal, India, and culturally-related areas of Russia. The geography represented by this medicinal plant dataset extends across the entire Tibetan plateau, its adjacent ranges, the wider transregional Himalayas, central Asia and much of the Indian subcontinent. Data collection drew from textual analysis of the seminal works of the Tibetan medical canon, including the Four Medical Treatises, Crystal Orb and Rosary among others; as well as the contemporary definitive work Stainless Crystal Mirror of Materia Medica by Gawe Dorje. Study authors applied the same classification system as Gawe Dorje, yet reanalyzed specimens according to a database cataloging research on regional herbarium botanical specimens, geographic distributions and regional plant chemistry studies, and confirming proper identification with the most current modern botanical taxonomies. Subsequently, almost 700 of the most commonly used materia medica were selected for compilation. Thus, this dataset represents updated botanical identifications and confirmations from both early and contemporary sources. Botanical spec...

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Materia Medica
Sowa Rigpa
World Flora Online
Botanical Names
Flora Of China
Tibetan Medicine
Asian Medical Systems
Entire Tibetan Plateau

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