From the Blog

July 14, 2016

Kill or Cure

Where once the west scoffed at these ancient practices, many people in Thailand still look to some of these centuries old remedies to cure all manner of ailments, listed here are the most common that can be found in and around Asia, including Thailand and those that could be “Coming Soon to a Place Near You”


Ruou Thuoc Wine (Snake wine)

The drink was first recorded to have been consumed in China during the Western Zhou dynasty, in Traditional Chinese medicine it is considered an important curative and believed to reinvigorate a person that takes it, today it can be found throughout Southeast Asia. Believed by some to be a medicinal wine, it is  produced by infusing whole snake, Seahorse or Gecko inside a glass jar soaked with alcohol grains or rice wine, to which is added medicinal herbs such as ginseng roots, jujube (Chinese or Korean dates), and termites.

The snakes, preferably venomous ones, are not usually preserved for their meat but to have their “essence” and snake venom dissolved in the liquor. The snake venom poses no threat to the drinker, as it is denatured by the ethanol.

Usually taken in shots before mealtime, the wine is used to treat many kind of diseases not caused by bacteria or viruses and sex enhancement especially for matured women. Geckos are now reportedly being tipped as the next answer for treating AIDS, cancer, diabetes, and other terminal diseases, none of the claims are verified by any reputable source.


 Kill or Cure snake wine



The touch of a terrapin, is believed to cure rheumatism and other bodily ailments, the picture below shows the properties of this Amphibian put to the test on the face of a villager in Kandal province, 20km (12 miles) west of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  Belief in the supernatural healing powers of animals such as turtles, cows and snakes is a relatively common phenomenon in Cambodia and the Khmer people and so it is not surprising to learn that it is also found among the Cambodian descendants in the people of Isan, Northeast Thailand.


Kill or Cure terrapins

Picture taken May 24, 2006. (REUTERS)



Using unborn children

Do you remember this Thai news  headline from 2012
Man of Taiwanese origin, was held by police after the grisly discovery was made in Bangkok’s Chinatown district.
Six foetuses of children had been found covered in gold leaf after being roasted as part of a black magic ritual. The infant corpses were being offered to wealthy clients via a black magic services website. 

Aborting innocent and healthy unborn children in China, and eating them to boost one’s stamina and sexual health was reported by the Daily Mail and Washington Times in the same year. Thankfully No reports have been made that this practice or use has been found in Thailand


Kill or Cure unborn children



While we have fish massages in Thailand, where fish feed on the dead skin from people who chose to dip their feet in large fish tanks.
In this picture Garra rufa, also called doctor fish, has numerous nibble fish, kangal fish, and bone fish, swimming around his face as he relaxes in a hot spa pool in Kangal, 105 kilometers (65 miles) south of the central Anatolian city of Sivas Turkey.  The treatment is believed to heal Psoriasis, a chronic skin disease which affects the joints and skins. The mineral-rich water is then believed to aid in the healing process. How long before we get it here?


Kill or Cure fish



It is thought that scorpions found in Thailand are relatively harmless, in truth there are only 25 species of the 1,500 known species in the world that are lethal to man and non are found in the Kingdom. Those that are already here are found mainly in forests and rural areas, (and of course those dead ones being sold by street vendors) but don’t be surprised to find them in the cities, especially if there is any scrub-land or parkland close by.

In traditional Chinese medicine, scorpions are known as Quan Xie (in mandarin) and are used for the treatment of patients with diseases such as such as chronic pain, paralysis, apoplexy and epilepsy. The animal used is traditionally the Mesobuthus martensii; its common names include Chinese scorpionManchurian scorpion, Chinese armor-tail scorpion and Chinese golden scorpion. Despite its common name, this scorpion is not only found in Manchuria or China, but also in Mongolia, Korea(North Korea) and Japan. The scorpion is first soaked to clean them, then boiled in water and salt until stiff, they are then left to dry and later used whole or ground to a powder.

As bizarre as it sounds, smoking scorpions is not unheard of in South Asian countries, but according to regional media, the practice has recently been gaining popularity in several parts of Pakistan, so states ‘Oddity Cetral’, With the quality of driving here in the Kingdom could this craze already be here?


Kill or Cure scorpions

A woman receives traditional Chinese medical treatment with dead scorpions on her face.


Thai villagers drink wine fermented with scorpions, believing the insects can cure various diseases and improve sexual potency.

Kill or Cure thai wine


Snow Jelly

Coming soon to a restaurant near you and once only available to Chinese Emperors, “Snow Jelly”, This could it be the next big thing for those with enough money, a cast iron stomach and not afraid to try new things. This magical natural product is an ancient Chinese cure for the likes of lung and kidney problems and helps in combating aging and fatigue.
See more on this topic and what Snow Jelly really is…. click here.


Kill or Cure snow jelly



Eggs Boiled In Virgin Boy’s Urine


Things we do not want to import from China
Eggs Boiled In Virgin Boy’s Urine Is A Delicacy In China. Every year in early spring time, the urine of school boys under the age of 10 is collected and used to boil eggs. They are then sold for twice the price of a regular boiled egg. the residents of Dongyang residents believe that when the eggs are cooked this way it helps decrease body heat, promote better blood circulation and just generally reinvigorate the body.


Kill or Cure eggs



Cows Urine

Cambodia villagers collect the urine of a cow believed to have healing powers in Kompot province, about 100 km (62 miles) south of the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. Belief in the supernatural healing powers of animals such as cows, snakes and turtles is relatively common in Cambodia, where more than third of the population lives on less than $1 a day and few can afford modern medicines.


Kill or Cure cow pee



Buring mugwort plant leaves and walnuts

A doctor ignites dry moxa leaves in a patient’s ear during a traditional Chinese medical treatment for curing brain atrophy, (to cure headache and insomnia) at a hospital in Jinan, Shandong province. Moxa is the name for dried mugwort plant leaves. Moxibustion means to burn the leaves on or near the skin as a form of heat therapy. I have no idea what the walnut does!!!!!


Kill or Cure walnuts

A woman receives traditional Chinese medical treatment with a walnut on her eye and ignited dry moxa leaves in her ear


Yaa Dong

Yaa dong, is similar to Snake wine, Yaa means medicine and dong means to leave something in liquid until it ferments. Herbs, wood, bark, vines, seeds, plants and even insects, sharks and snakes are thought to have curative properties. These once dried or powdered items are then soaked for up to 30 days, to extract the ‘medicine’ before being mixed with alcohol, usually lao khao. There are thought to be in excess of 200 different herbs used in its various concoctions, with many secret recipes being passed down through the generations. The names that the different mixtures have are colourful to say the least and include such titles as dragons breath, horse kicks the coffin, 11 tigers, sharks tooth and my particular favorite ‘doesn’t know how to fall down’.

Keep your eyes open and you may see Yaa dong ‘bars’ appearing as roadside stalls, with others found at temple fairs (Yaa Dong is the only alcoholic beverage that Thai monks are permitted to drink). You’ll know yaa dong when you see it as it’s normally sold in large glass jars, which can hold up to 2 litres of different coloured hooch, labeled with claims such as a shot will instill energy, strength and male virility. Although common in more northerly regions, this wonderfully intoxicating example of Thai rural culture is slowly dying out, so grab it while you can – it’s one ‘spirit’ that demands respect!


Kill or Cure Yaa Dong


Swallowing Live fish

An asthma patient swallows a life fish as part of his treatment in Bombay. The tiny river fish’s mouth is stuffed with herbal medicine before it is forced live down the throat of asthmatics in a ritual that some Indians believe provides a sure shot cure for the disease. The combination of herbs used in the procedure is a secret that is tightly guarded by an Indian family which claims to have known it for 150 years.


Kill or Cure fish-treatment


Horn Cupping

Cupping is a treatment that claims to take the heat out of the body, by using animal horns or glass cups that are heated before being placed on the body of the patient.


A resident receives horn cupping treatment on his back on a street in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Cupping is an alternative form of pain therapy that has been part of Chinese medicine for over 2,500 years, local media reported.


Kill or Cure Horn Cupping


Maggot Therapy


The Bangkok Hospital reported in their healthy living solutions that the use of maggots is an efficient wound healing treatment    Maggot therapy is suitable for treatment of bedsores, non-healing wounds, tissue infection, burns and chronic wounds. The duration of this type of treatment is usually three days. This may not be as wiered as you first think as maggots have been used for treating battle wounds for centuries and a recent US National Library of Medicine publication concluded that it works


Kill or Cure maggot therapy



Train Tracks

In some parts of Indonesia, residents believe that the electrical energy from the tracks will cure them of various illnesses. PHOTO: REUTERS

Kill or Cure train tracks


Bee Stings


Bee venom has increasingly been used in western medicine to treat a variety of illnesses, including multiple sclerosis (MS), arthritis, fibromyalgia, and tendonitis. Bee venom solution, or BVS, is categorized as a drug in twelve European countries, and included in everything from salves, liniments, creams, and injectibles. Some forms of the venom are only available by prescription, but many are sold over the counter.  Here in Thailand it’s done the old fashioned way, by having the bees sting the patient directly

Bee venom is said to treat arthritis, rheumatism, tendonitis, bursitis, inflamed joints, Sudeck-syndrome, and numerous skin conditions. As a homeopathic remedy, bee venom, known as Apis mellifica, has been used to treat many ailments, including poison ivy, cystitis, urticaria, eczema, herpes, and meningitis. Apis is also used in acute illnesses, such as colds and flu and to help lower fevers.



While this is a list of the most common remedies found in Thailand and Asia, it is no way a complete list as there are many others that could be added here. For a list of  weird food and drinks that can be found in the Kingdom of Thailand, click here or any of our posts below which include details on all manner of strange foods available in the Kingdom.


Caviar of the East

The Distinct Aromas Of Thai Cooking

A Bugs Life

Don’t jump at this desert

Blood and Guts

Taste of Thailand



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