Ancient remedies have always been part of life in Asia, and that applies as much to Cambodia as anywhere else on the continent. In rural Cambodia which will always be part of any Cambodia travel package, you are going to see life as it has been for generations. No Cambodia holiday is complete without meeting the people and observing their daily lives. Life can be hard but that does not take the smile off ordinary people’s faces.
Some of the treatments used in Cambodia date back to the Khmer Empire. Indeed, the local name for traditional medicine in Cambodia translates into Kru Khmer. There are regional differences that have been handed down over the years, and ironically, the Khmer Rouge which caused so much destruction and damage in the few years that it ruled the country actually sought to increase the use of traditional medicine to reduce any modern Western influences. It is difficult to put an accurate figure on the numbers of Cambodians who prefer traditional cures to modern medicine but the Ministry of Health suggested it was as high as 50% fairly recently.
Traditional healers use local herbs and plants. The leaves of the guava tree are said to cure diarrhea while the flowers combat stomach pains. One of the reasons why traditional medicine remains so popular is cost. Ordinary Cambodians in rural areas sometimes cannot afford the cost of modern treatment, both the doctor’s time and the drugs prescribed.
It certainly helps that Cambodia has a number of products naturally found there that are healthy in themselves. Asyou enjoy Cambodia travel, you are certain to come across many of them:
• Ginger is a very popular spice which is extensively used in cuisine but is also thought to reduce soreness and muscle pain.
• Dragon Fruit is thought to be good for reducing cholesterol, controlling arthritis as well as being good for colds and treating asthma.
• The claims made of Ginseng date back over 5,000 years. It is extensively used in Chinese medicine with benefits ranging from sexual prowess to reducing anxiety and helping weight loss.
• Garlic is thought to reduce the risk of heart attacks because it helps stop the formation of blood clots and reduces blood pressure. It may even help combat dementia and Alzheimer’s the Cambodian believe.
• Mango leaves are rich in important vitamins, A, B and C as well as containing a number of nutrients.
• Chilli helps with everything from depression to allergies, headaches and deafness as well as improving memory.
• Hoodia Gordonii helps with weight loss by tricking the body into believing it is full.
• Gingko Biloba helps with the memory and it is even used to regenerate hair.
Many of these things are used in daily diets and are familiar to tourists anyway; they are perfectly safe and why not try a traditional remedy while you are on holiday in Cambodia? Ginger, garlic and chilli are especially common and everyone benefits from eating fruit.