Friday, October 18, 2013

Herbal SEA: Traditional & Folk Medicine

Southeast Asia houses many herbs and medicinal plants. As with various magical practices of Southeast Asia; there are certainly many types of herbs in Southeast Asia: from India, China, Europe, Middle East and many more native SEA species. Many of this type of applied herbal knowledge are handled down from mouth to ear by our forefathers and seldom being written down. I call this type of healing arts the “SEA folk medicine”.


I am not sure if there is a clear separation line between the “folk medicine” and “traditional medicine”; personally I treat “folk medicine” as rules of thumb that are taken as it is and may or may not be fully tested. On the other hand, the “traditional medicine” is built upon a set of treatment theories; no treatments and medications can be administered without referring to these theories.


A TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioner once told me that it will be indeed over his dead body to ask him to consume something that he does not know. I am sure you will do the same, but for the proponent of folk medicines; certain herbs are thought to be a “cure all” solution.


There are claims that many herbs can cure cancerous illness, tumors, high blood, diabetes and the like. I am not a doctor and let us pass this task to the field experts. But what I do know is that some of the herbs can treat fever, sore throat and the like pretty effectively.


Having said so, please don’t take the herbs daily as if we are taking tea. Majority of the herbs can be bitter, possess mild toxicity and having cold characteristics. I have a pal who consumed too much of Andrograhis Paniculata Nees or “the king of bitterness” and later found difficulties in controlling his muscles.


However, if one apply the herbs correctly; the curing effect is simply amazing. At time a simple herb can save one’s life from snake bite in wilderness far away from civilization. Another example:


My pal from Johor were having cough for 2 weeks. He visited a renowned TCM practitioner for 3 visits; each visit costs him $35. So he spent a total of $105 on the consultation fees. At the mean time, he drank 6 bottles of cough syrup that would cost him $18 per bottle. Hence he has spent $108 on the cough syrup. So he spent a total of $213 on the TCM medication. Likewise, a visit to a medical doctor would cost about $50 per visit.


So, how much was the medicine I prescribed to my friend?




Well… He only took the first dose that has substantially relieved his cough. That would be only $3! For the rest of $9 was a throat reliever drink. Now do you think we should go further into the SEA herbs? Check out:


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