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Ancient medicines still used in local villages

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Khmer traditional medicine, while waning in major urban centres, is still practiced in provincial centres.

In Siem Reap one of the hubs of traditional medicine is Takok village, Kantout commune, in Svay Leu district where hundreds of are still using the medical preparations as treatment to cure their family members.

Practitioners told Siem Reap Insider that sometimes people from neighboring districts come to borrow their medical preparations for their family member as well.

Svay Leu resident Chhorn Neoun said, “We have our traditional medicines, but sometimes we still need to go to the health center to get modern health education on how to protect ourselves from malaria and dengue fever, and to get information about mother and children’s health and especially about hygiene in our area.”

He said some Khmer people cure their disease following their beliefs, and that some of their illness can’t be cured by modern medicine.

He said he has more then twenty years of experience in mixing traditional Khmer medicines for headaches, diarrhea and physical pain, adding that his patients believe that traditional medicine cures just as well as Western alternatives.

The Khmer traditional medicine is a form of naturopathy using natural remedies such as roots, barks, leaves and herbs to motivate the body’s vital ability to heal and maintain itself. It has been used to treat various diseases for many years in Cambodia.

Ancient Khmer people first formulated this medical lore during the Angkor period. It offers a holistic approach avoiding the use of surgery and drugs.

Practitioners of this therapy are known locally as Krou Khmer, and such practitioners are receiving recognition and training from the government at the National Center of Traditional Medicine in Phnom Penh.

Medical books in Pali text have been gathered from all the pagodas throughout the country, and collated and interpreted into the Khmer language at the center.

The center welcomes traditional healers from across the kingdom to share knowledge, and trains healers to a uniform level and to assimilate their localized knowledge.

The medicines come from the forest, and include animal bones or skins, plants, resins, vines and components.

Sometimes in order to cure people, Krou Khmer try to find more than 100 components to scrape and mix together.

These components can be mixed with be with coconut milk or rice wine, to drink or to smear on the skin depending on the illness.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thik Kaliyann at newsroom@phnompenhpost.com

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