Established in 1988, one of the more interesting facilities in Thimphu is the National Institute of Traditional Medicine. There is an impressive, large laboratory and production facility that ensures the quality of the products, the components of which may include plants, minerals, animal parts, precious metals and gems.
The production of medicines is directed entirely towards the needs of Bhutanese, though there is a plan to eventually export traditional medicines. There is a day-care facility and clinic where doctors diagnose patients and prescribe appropriate traditional medicines or treatments. Tour operators can arrange visits to the institute. There is a small museum and gift shop where you can purchase Tsheringma, a safflower-based herbal tea that is produced here.
The institute also researches the use of medicinal herbs and plants and has a trial that collect medicinal plants from faraway places such as Lingzhi in western Bhutan, where a number of important medicinal species grow in abundance.