India > Manali

Doctors Collecting Herbs

Photography by Thomas L. Kelly (2007)

Tibetan medical students from the Men-Tsee-Khang College in Dharamshala are seen collecting samples of medicinal plants. The ideal Tibetan doctor is both a physician and a pharmacist and the identification of plants in their natural habitat is a crucial part of medical training. Apart from taxonomy, students learn about the ideal harvesting time and location for each species. North or south-facing slopes yield different qualities of the same species, and choosing the right time and date for collection makes a big difference both in terms of quality and maintaining sustainable harvesting levels. However, as environmental concerns grow, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find sites and obtain permissions for educational plant expeditions like the one depicted in these images.

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