Sunday, March 2, 2014

From Thailand To Vietnam: White Turmeric (莪术)

The mysterious and multi-purpose white turmeric
White turmeric is known as “wan paya ngoo tua mea” in Thai or literary “the queen of snake rhizome”. It is used in the Northeastern part of Thailand as a snakebite antidote.


It is said that white turmeric is discovered by Buddhist monks. Legend has it that a monk was walking in jungle and he was bitten by a king cobra. He pulled out some plants with roots and rubbed the root against the bitten part; miraculously the monk survived to tell his story. And that story made this white turmeric famous.


There are many ways to administer this white turmeric. The most common method is to mince a large quantity of white turmeric rhizomes and add liquor that contains at least 50% alcohol and above. After that this mixture is drunk daily and after a person is bitten by a poisonous snake. If it is meant for treating snake bite, local folks normally consume the minced white turmeric until vomit.


There is another use of white turmeric in Vietnamese black magic community: the white turmeric is worshipped as ‘snake ngai’ or snake plant. Before snake ngai can be used, it must be empowered first with below method:


First, one must get a piece of white turmeric rhizome. After that he/she will draw the required talisman on a piece of copper plate or lead. For a darker operation, a real cobra is drowned in alcohol first; but the snake is not necessary if one just wanted the ngai plant to watch over his/her property.


Now the person must dig a hole in his house compound and first put in the copper/lead talisman then the snake if he/she chooses to use a snake. And then the white turmeric rhizome is put into the hole. After that the hole is covered with soil. That ends the first part of the operation.


The person must visit the site and recite mantras to evoke the 12 Thai snake gods and goddesses and ask the spirits to give birth to new snake ngai. Snake ngai is said to be born when new shoots emerged from the ground.


There are many applications to snake ngai. It can be used to watch over property, harm enemy, and reduce business competition as well as curing snake bite victims. Rumor has it that the snake ngai can revive a person who has died of snake bite provided that the duration is within 18 hours. However no one has tested this claim in real life.


If one chooses, he can dig up the white turmeric rhizome and boil it in hot water as this will keep the spirit inside the rhizome. After the boiling, the rhizome is dried under sunlight for 3 days. When this is done, the dried rhizome is wrapped with a piece of red cloth and worship on an altar; or it can also be carried around as a protective charm.


The above formula for snake bite is for your reference only as any snake bite victim ideally should be sent to the nearest hospital. Hence try at your own risks.


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