HIMALAYAN MEDICINAL PLANT CONSERVATION
AND TIBETAN MEDICAL CLINIC

Amchis gathering medicinal plants.
Medicinal plants are like the jewels of the Earth. They are very precious and should be recognized and used as medicine.
Norbu Sangpo Lama, (Humli Environmentalist)

Tibetan Medicine is an ancient medical system based on Buddhist philosophy and psychology. It is an integral part of Tibetan culture, and has been developed by examining the link between nature and the body over many centuries. It is a complete system of medicine. The oldest form of Tibetan Medicine dates back to the pre-Buddhist, Bon tradition. Humla Fund is committed to preserving and promoting this ancient form of medicine that is an essential part of Tibetan culture in the Humla Valley.

The Himalayan mountains are the source of many medicinal plants used in the practice of Tibetan Medicine. Communities here rely directly on the forest and mountains for food, water, and medicine, as well as a place to pray, collect firewood and earn money. By 2006, the decade-long civil war in Nepal had made a profound impact on the ecosystems of the forests, and on the biodiversity of medicinal plants, in the Humla Valley. Part of Humla's landscape has become deforested and wild medicinal plants are at risk of being over-harvested.

Humla Fund's approach to addressing this challenge is to empower people to be good stewards of the land. We have been working with local environmental activists and amchis (Tibetan doctors) to educate the Humli villagers in stewardship practices, in order to restore the delicate balance between the flourishing of medicinal plants and continued practice of Tibetan Medicine, and improvement to the livelihood of the mountain communities. Sustainably-managed harvesting of medicinal herbs means that collectors and cultivators will receive a Fair Trade price for these herbs, which are in high demand throughout the rest of Nepal, India and China. Establishing Fair Trade policies, in turn, ensures the sustainable sourcing of herbs and promotes greater equality in trading partnerships. The Humli people are in a unique position to essentially create a sustainable industry that demands higher prices for the herbs, which will be good for the land, the Humli people's health, and their sustenance.

Humla Fund believes that a healthy environment requires a healthy community to take care of it. This is why Humla Fund's projects on conservation and health occur side by side. Humla Fund's goal is to build a Tibetan medical clinic and herbal pharmacy to give the Humli people greater access to their traditional medicine, and to develop awareness of conservation that will support the environment and livelihood of the Humli people.

Ancient Tibetan medical text of medicinal herbs.
Amchis harvesting herbs.