A common group of ingredients needed for making torma, and used in many Tibetan medicines is called Zang Druk, the Six Excellent Substances. These six substances are: 1) Chu gang, 2) Gur gum, 3) Li shi, 4) Dza ti, 5) Suk mel, and 6) Ka ko la. These substances are ground into powder and mixed together.
There are three types of Chu gang: 1) Tree Chu gang, 2) Rock Chu gang, and 3) Water Chu gang. Tree chu gang comes from an Indian tree similar to bamboo. It forms a milky white juice at the joints of the tree. Rock chu gang is hard like a stone, and water chu gang comes from rivulets found on mountains such as Mount Tisé.
The common name for Gur gum is saffron. In general, there is low, medium and high quality grades of saffron. The common name for Li shi is cloves. The common name for Dza ti is nutmeg. The common name for Suk mel is cardamom. This is also known as green cardamom. The common name for Ka ko la is black cardamom.
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