Vietnamese Traditional Medicine

Museum of traditional medicine

It’s dark in the morning. I don’t have internet where I’m sleeping. It’s just dark, a little cool, and humid and still. I’ve come to the office of our hotel where there is internet, and I can now write this post to you. I’m thinking of students at Mary and Kara’s English class who know this topic I want to show you pictures about here. Where I write – beside me is a couch. Suddenly I’m aware of snoring and realize someone or many people are sleeping around me. They are hotel staff who have probably traveled a distance to cook for us. I can’t see them. I have mostly the light of this iPad I’m typing on. I’m in Hoi An, by the South China Sea, which has a new name, East Sea. Lots of places have new names.

But the pictures I want to show you are from Saigon where I was introduced by practitioners to traditional medicine.

Above is our attendant at the FiTo Museum of Traditional Vietnamese medicine. She explains to us that acupuncture was first practiced by the Vietnamese. Someone had discovered the impact of the pressure of stones while walking barefoot across them. Acupressure. The practice was later explored by the Chinese and developed to acupuncture. The young woman guided us through rooms of first monographs describing methods of herbs and dosage for people with different conditions. There is an art form of the mortar and pestle to crush the herbs. We learned the methods of boiling herbs in water and drinking the decoctions. I had read so much about life-saving decoctions of Cambodian people in their travails and deprivation of food.

One type of mortar and pestle
Early records kept by traditional doctors.

Our attendant gave us drops of a potion to rub between our palms. We then placed our palms where there was pain and it made my skin tingle.

One room is devoted to illustrations of herbs, stalks, and blossoms used for medicines. Later in our journey around Danang and Hoi An, I see vast green fields of rice and also gardens in the smallest corridors of soil around a house. Here is a garden plot of vegetables and herbs cultivated between large buildings on a crazy, busy urban street.

I’ve never drunk much green tea but our young attendant leaves us with this prescription: drink green tea in the morning, not at night. It gives your body too much energy to drink at night. But in the morning, drink it with honey and cinnamon. Cinnamon has many virtues, she explains.

The room is coming alive where I write. My fingers are sticky on the keys in the humidity. The person has slipped away from the couch and I didn’t see them go. Two staff people come to the hotel desk rubbing their eyes. Someone turns on a light. Across the way, I see the huge sea. I’ll show you.

5 Responses to “Vietnamese Traditional Medicine”

  1. mimi Beth white

    Do you see our comments? When you write I can hear your voice. I will try green tea with honey and cinnamon while you are away. The art work that holds the secrets of the ancient medicines is beautiful. Your writing space feels dark as if you had been transported to the night sky. I am going to yoga now–your class with Rebecca who is a very good teacher. Much love, Mimi

    • terryfarish

      Good morning, Mimi. I do see and aam so grateful to imagine you writing to me. I don’t feel alone. Our pace has been fast as we move north. But today we leave a little later so I can write to you an tell you I. Miss you and hope you have peace today. Terry

  2. Maren C. Tirabassi

    Wow. Today I buy honey. Tomorrow I put it in green tea. I’m sure she does not mean my decaf version, but still. Thank you for this wonderful post and the vividness of your writing place. I’ve often shared space with people I called “sleeping” but that was usually me being judgmental-in-metaphor! See, you have even made me a little repentant.


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