Faeces and the Old Sole of a Shoe: Remedies of the Dreckapotheke

  • 1 Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Munich, Germany
  • 2 Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
Petra Maurer
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  • Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Munich, Germany
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
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In Tibetan horse medicine, the so-called Dreckapotheke remedies were very commonly an added ingredient in the preparation of remedies. In traditional Tibetan medicine, the medical ingredients are classified according to their origin. A category called Dreckapotheke however does not exist and there is no direct equivalent in the Tibetan language for this term. Nevertheless, Tibetan medicine identifies many ingredients that can be categorised as such, among these excrement, dirt and filth. Many of these that are introduced here are not used these days, and may never have been at all. The analysis of how this type of medicine is described in the Tibetan texts in this article is divided into several sections.

After a general introduction to these types of ingredients, I provide a short description of the manuscripts on Tibetan horse medicine that survey diseases and treatments. This is followed by a survey of the Dreckapotheke remedies as outlined in chapter twenty of the most authoritative Tibetan text on human medicine, the Four Tantras (rGyud bzhi) with its commentary by the regent of the Fifth Dalai Lama Sanggye Gyatso (Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho). The main part of the article describes the use of these substances as found in the texts on horse medicine. I introduce its use in the German tradition, discuss the origin of these remedies and the naming of the ingredients. This article provides the basis for further research on the Dreckapotheke remedies.

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