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Herbal remedy takes root in US

A little-known Swiss company is having success with the production of a herbal remedy based on a traditional Tibetan formula. Padma has been on the market in Europe for years, but has now been given the go-ahead to sell in the United States.

This content was published on January 26, 2000 - 12:23

A little-known Swiss company is having success with the production of a herbal remedy based on a traditional Tibetan medicinal formula. Padma has been on the market in Europe for years, but has now been given the go-ahead to sell its main product in the United States.

Padma's US representative, Martin Wolf, told Swiss Radio International that the product's listing as a "dietary supplement" in accordance with the strict United States Food and Drug Administration regulations was a major event for the company.

But Padma's launch on the huge North American market is not the only grounds for excitement. Wolf added that considerable interest has also been aroused by the December 6 article in Time Magazine about ongoing research into Padma that is being conducted in Israel. So far, results there have substantiated the claims made for the Swiss product, and it's entirely possible that the catalogue of proven uses for Padma may be enlarged as the research work continues.

Padma is a Swiss product based on a traditional Tibetan medicinal formula made of some 20 herbs. Some of the ingredients are organically grown in Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe, while others are imported from India.

Tibetan medicine is closely related to the ancient forms of the holistic medical practices of India and China. In addition to dietary regimes, they all involve the use of herbal and other natural preparations to prevent or treat various diseases and conditions. The Dalai Lama is a declared supporter of Tibetan traditional medicine, and has encouraged further research into it.

In Tibet itself, Padma-type preparations are used to treat a wide range of illnesses ranging from colds to even cancer. In the West, however, clinically-proven claims are limited to a beneficial effect on the immune and circulatory systems, as well as providing an overall improvement in one's feeling of well-being.

The idea to start producing Padma on a commercial basis was that of a Zurich pharmaceutical manufacturer, Karl Lutz. He became interested in Tibetan medicine in the 1960's. The formula for Padma came into his possession through connections with Eastern Europe, where it was used by Tibetan medical practitioners.

Production started in 1969, and today Switzerland is the only country producing Padma in the West. The product is in tablet form, and marketed in most countries under the name Padma 28. In North America a similar product adapted to that particular market is called Padma Basic. In all cases, it is available without a doctor's prescription.

By Bob Zanotti

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