Travelling through Tibet in 2015 the exposure to altitudes of 3,650 meters (approximately 11,970 feet) and higher above sea level was hard and I experienced some of the symptoms of high altitude sickness.
Even with a progressive increase in altitude over a couple of weeks coming from Kunming (1,892 meters) to Shangri-La (3,160 meters) otherwise known as Diqing, Yunnan, China.
Discussing High Altitude Sickness with Dr. Ho Shixiu
This was a part of a journey undertaken at the time exploring many small towns and villages, hiking through mountainous areas, and learning about traditional medicines. One of the more interesting encounters was with Dr. Ho Shixiu, referred to affectionately simply as Dr. Ho, who spoke with me and my Wife about long trusted natural medicines. 
According to Dr. Ho, Shilajit, the purified resin of what is referred to locally as Chao-Tong or Wu Ling Zhi can help with altitude sickness, and is relied upon by many in the region and further north into various Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures and beyond. 
Dr Ho’s clinic in Baisha Village is at approximately 2,200 meters above sea level. At this time we were speaking about many topics and his opinion towards certain practices. In the video below he spoke briefly about cancer and diabetes.
Optimism is the Best Form of Medicine
Optimism is the best medicine. That brand of sage advice is sprinkled throughout many different times in history, yet few seem to discover it. Call it manifestation. Call it the Universe. Call it the Law of Attraction. It all adds up to the same thing; what you focus on expands. So focus on positivity and optimism if you want to experience those types of situations and feelings more frequently.
Dr. Ho was very clear that he believed that the cure for the illness was found within the patient. The medicine only helped, it didn’t do the job of curing the patient on its own. I loved the positive mindset communicated in his prescriptions, which he kindly let me photograph.
During the first three days while in Lhasa, Tibet, I found that I was struggling with the simplest of things as a result of the altitude. Bending over and putting on shoes was followed by sitting down for a moment, then slowly moving to a standing position. In fact, anything that required me to bend over caused significant dizziness at this altitude.
I flicked through my diary notes where I had recorded information about the herbal remedies that Dr. Ho had suggested, and made my way to one of the pharmacies that carried this. It was in a capsule where I had Shilajit in a powdered form with other herbs that I found relief from the effects of the high altitude sickness. This proved to be very effective all the way up to Everest Base Camp 1, and back to Lhasa again.
It’s pretty amazing to think that a substance that can help with altitude sickness is found in the Himalaya, right where the need for treating altitude sickness actually exists, and is likely to be the at the highest. Think about the magic behind that, it’s not found in the lowlands or the rain forests where altitude sickness isn’t an issue.
Interestingly, others travelling with me were relying on prescription medication for high altitude sickness which provided them with no relief. I was aware that exposure to higher altitudes without suitable acclimation can trigger a range of symptoms which could include acute lethargy all the way through to chronic conditions such as dementia.
Since then, I have relied upon Shilajit as a means to combat the challenges faced by higher altitudes and found that it has been very effective in this area.
- “Dr Ho ‘goes to the mountains’ after a lifetime of international renown” – Thomas Bird, 9 September 2018 [South China Morning Post]
- “Shilajit: A panacea for high-altitude problems” – H. Meena, H. K. Pandey, M. C. Arya, and Z. Ahmed, 2010 [PubMed]
Last Updated on 4 months by D&C Editorial Team