For all ailments. The Viet are a funny lot.
If anyone died idiopathically they thought that person must have went out and got struck down by the “wind”.
When you come home from a day out and you feel bad . Yes the evil wind was at it again .
Thus then came out the salonpas
To help with the headache and whatever else .
Then someone would jump on you to strike the “evil” wind out of you with a coin and some tiger balm or green or white oil.
Until you are bruised all over. Everyone does the same pattern of stripes.
One long bruise along the spine. One each for each shoulder blades. Then diagonally across both sides of the back. Straight down the neck .
Next would be the pinching the area near the bridge of the nose until it is bright red.
Once you’re all bruised all over you’re given the all clear. The “evilness” have been exorcised.
Even children were not immune to the practice. But not as harshed.
Mum used to have a silver coin . Pure silver. Then if anyone of us was sick she’d boil and egg. Wrap the coin in the middle of the egg after removing the yolk. Then wrap the egg in a hanky and off she’d go.
By the end of it we’d stunk of egg.
Dug into my bathroom cabinet and found this today. I don’t remember ever buying it? So it must belong to my mother in law when she stayed with us? Or may be I did buy it when we first married? It’s that long ago. It’s been moved from house to house.
Today I’m finally chucking it in the bin. I have no use for it. Guess I’ve always kept it because the smell is familiar. My grandma used to pop it on herself .
Back to topic. After the bruising comes the lemon grass steam treatment.
What happens is they’d boil a pot of water with lemon grass then pop it into a basin on the ground and you’re to sit next to it with a blanket covering you until you sweat it all out. No wind is allowed to hide in any crevices of you.
Then you get to eat. You guessed it. Not rice, not noodles but plain white congee with sugar. No meat as your tummy won’t be able to digest. Just plain white congee cooked in water as stock is deemed too fatty.
Congee was the cure for all ailments. Sugar to give you enough energy to go through your day sitting in bed. The rice bit to give you some solids but still gentle enough to digest . And the water bit to rehydrate you.
As if that’s not bad enough you’re not to go outside into that horrible wind until you’re better and you’re not allowed to wash your hair or bathe either .
If you haven’t lived with a sick person you don’t know how bad they stink . It’s bad bad. Imagine the smell of tiger balm mixed with eggs, with lemongrass, with body odour from not bathing for days on ends.
PS. I’m trying to cure hubby with a pot of congee . His ailment is food poisining from eating long over due food. We are all okie except for him since the kids are like me. Careful with what we eat.