I have some respect for homeopathic and holistic folk wisdom, but I am unsure just what lore in this context exists in the depths of Isaan. More and more, the old ways of Isaan are being abandoned as the younger generation turns its back on the traditional ways of life. One still hears and reads of the equivalent of “witch doctors” in Isaan, and what has reached me has always been outrageous and ridiculous. Some desperate people may still resort to these local “authorities,” but for most niggling problems, I get the impression that Isaan people are perfectly happy to flock to a medical doctor or pharmacist and are not satisfied until they have a prescription in hand. I know my wife would place far more faith in the perceived fast fix to be found in a bottle of pills issued to her from a pharmacy than she does in an indefinably slow naturopathic process. When her oldest teenaged son suffers a bad outbreak of acne, is there any talk of a lifestyle change as in abandoning the numerous chocolate bars, candy, pop, pizza, McDonald’s fare, and franchised fried chicken that constitute his diet on any particular day here in Canada? Of course not. There has to be a modern fix that a doctor must prescribe — a lifestyle change is foolish talk when it comes from someone like me.
My experience with Isaan people has left me with a weak and even cynical regard for what might be collectively deemed as “Isaan medicine.” I have not witnessed any so-called folk wisdom in this area. But perhaps my perception has been colored by association with the wrong examples in the Isaan population.
A short blog post from just over six years ago recounts one incident of the sort of folksy “wisdom” that too often is heard about: Isaan medicine – not always the obvious. And when it comes to modern medicine and the sort of blind faith accruing to it, witness this brief account — also from 2005 — in the Thai Visa Forum that the poster titled Transkinetic Medicine In Isaan.
My wife was rather fortunate to grow up where she did — her village is about a 15-minute drive from Udon Thani City. Conditions in her village were very reasonable. But some areas of Isaan have dreadful conditions. This description by a reader in Stickman’s guide to Bangkok titled ISAAN: HOME OF THE BARGIRLS – A VISIT offers a portrayal of living conditions that would probably be nearly as unwholesomely disagreeable to my wife as it sounds to be to me.
According to ThaiWorldView.com: Each village has a community Health Centre (“SUAN SUKHAPHAP” – สวนสขภาพ). There are still some “MO YA SAMUNPHRAI” (หมอยาสมุนไพร) or medicine herbs doctors. They are well known healers who use herbal medicines. The “MO YA PHI FA” (หมอยาผีฟ้า) is invited to cure a sick person in cases when the cause is not known.
I suppose my wife’s village may have had a “Health Centre,” for her village was quite large. But I cannot recall her mentioning one.
From last Summer, this post in the blog The Thailand Life presents one Westerner’s unique view on how Isaan has begun to change, particularly where mental health is concerned: Life In Isaan – Following Isaan Tom. I hope the link to the audio does not fail anytime soon.
Alas, I fear that this statement on health care taken from JMarlett.tripod.com is the way of things: Preventative medicine is not emphasized. Most doctors make their money selling medicine such as shots and pills. Health care is better in cities than villages.
One occasionally reads of temporary or mobile medical and/or dental clinics that visit various rural villages in Isaan where care would otherwise not exist. Often, these clinics are provided by outsiders, such as Western Christian groups. And sometimes, they are even partnerships of American and Thai military teams.
Mention is made of a herbal remedy for a cobra bite in an interesting article from last Summer titled Inside Thailand’s cobra village. I have to admit, though, that I would want to ensure that I never stayed anywhere near the type of village being described.
Here are some further mentions or discussions of Isaan medicine:
“The province asked us to do this on our budget and told us they would pay us back later, but they didn’t say when or how much,” Dr. Rujiralak Phrommueang, the head of Khon Kaen Hospital’s Social Medicine Department …
Publish Date: 10/26/2011 17:01
… and a prerequisite for entering prestige professional career paths such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and engineering, the situation is, in fact, worse. For example, in 2006, the highest placed Isaan province, Udon Thani, …
Publish Date: 12/11/2011 16:01
Anyway, Thursday night Ja coughed a little through the night and come Friday morning I decided that she should have some of her medicine kept in the fridge. I woke Noot before leaving for school (not a popular decision) and …
Publish Date: 02/13/2011 20:22
Last time Ja had a cold, a very bad cough and runny nose, we could not get her to take any medicine, we had tried everything suggested on the internet and also suggested from friends. All very frustrating and it meant that Ja …
Publish Date: 03/21/2011 23:22
As medicine The plant is used to cure asthma, stomachache, to help discharge urine and to cure cholera. It is used as balm for massaging. The head of the plant is for curing … Family: MALVACEAEOther Names: Krajieb Priew (The Central Part ) Sompormaoh Somsgenkeng (The Norther Part ) Somtalaenkraeng Sompoo (Shan/Njiew-Maw Hongsron) Pakgenkeng, Sompordee (Isaan) Baisomma (Ranong). Botanical features: Trunk A small- sized bush of about 1-2 …
Publish Date: 02/12/2012 1:33
A blog about life in rural Isaan and our business, Crystal Hill Garden Resort. There is also information on Isaan and why it inspired me. Photos of Isaan and other parts … Making, administering and selling Thai Herbal Medicine …
Publish Date: 03/23/2010 3:36
Isaan Style! Travel to Isaan to see Thailand as it should be. Simple life, genuine people and the most unspoiled area of Thailand. Isaan encompasses these cities and more: Ubon Ratchathani, Sisaket, Mukdahan, Udonthani, Khon Kaen, Roi-Et, Yasothan.. I bring humorous stories, notes, and photos to Isaan Style as a teacher living in … She gets medicine and food for them if they are hungry. It is absolutely priceless and love it. Thai Niece Nong Ja New Ben Ten Shirt …
Publish Date: 09/10/2011 8:30
Isaan people consume a lot mushrooms every year. Many are used as medicine for certain diseases; however, academic studies on mushrooms have rarely been conducted. Mahasarakham University, located in the midst of …
Publish Date: 06/08/2011 0:35
Isaan Style! Travel to Isaan to see Thailand as it should be. Simple life, genuine people and the most unspoiled area of Thailand. Isaan encompasses these cities and more: Ubon Ratchathani, Sisaket, Mukdahan, Udonthani, Khon Kaen, Roi-Et, Yasothan.. I bring humorous stories, notes, and photos to Isaan Style ….. The young guy, if he had taken his medicine and given a nod of his head for being an idiot, great! But when he gave me the finger, oh man…. Vern, I love …
Publish Date: 09/16/2011 22:42
You did not go to a western hospital – which most Issan locals couldn’t afford anyway – with spiffy white walls and clean floors and such. You live in Issan, the land of the poor. And even in medicine (especially?), they are …
Publish Date: 08/15/2010 0:30
She has a range of Chinese herbal medicines, I had tried everything else so I thought why not give it a go, if it doesn’t work I go back to the hospital and get a battery of tests done. Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa Chinese Herbal …
Publish Date: 10/25/2010 9:32
I bring humorous stories, notes, and photos to Isaan Style as a teacher living in Isaan. … We bought rice soup, what the doctor recommended and then gave her the anti-nausea medicine 20 minutes before eating. Ja wanted to …
Publish Date: 11/16/2010 8:34
… Yasothan.. I bring humorous stories, notes, and photos to Isaan Style as a teacher living in Isaan. … and the bandage on. Then there was a dose of medicine to settle her stomach and she nodded off to sleep for a quick nap.
Publish Date: 11/18/2010 3:52
Article from Free Online Articles Directory- Unique Self Publishing Articles-Article Directory and entitled Lush Isaan Food – By. … Submitted 2011-03-27 20:56:20. Live long and eat healty with Northeastern – Isaan – Food. Here are some examples of the ripe Thai food that can … Medicinal value: Soup with Phaak Tiew Blossoms is a laxative, and also medicine to get rid of phlegm, to nourish the water element of the body, and relieve nerve-pain. The soup is harmful to the people having …
Publish Date: 03/27/2011 20:21
YouTube – Traditional Isaan Songkran Festival – Thailand 2011. … YouTube – Traditional Isaan Songkran Festival – Thailand 2011 …. Wonder if a worm medicine will kill off these parasites ? Bob63 is offline. Digg this Post!
Publish Date: 04/27/2011 0:00
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