Traditional Thai medecine recipes have been handed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years. Which herb to use for an illness, is knowledge that comes about from years of observation, trial and error, and fine-tuning. The use of herbs in cooking and for medicinal purposes has been a part of many cultures through the ages. In the olden days one would go no further than the kitchen to get cures for common ailments. Fresh or dried herbs and spices were items that could be found in everyone’s home apothecary. Many herbs are still being used today as they are e fective and safe. Indian and Chinese influences in the region cannot be denied and the proximity of Thailand to the two cradles of Asian civilization makes it a veritable melting pot where the three cultures, languages and body of knowledge blend, refine and enhance one another.
“For centuries, Thai people have had their own system of health care and illness treatments. The value of Thai herbs and their physiological actions can be looked upon as Thai wisdom by the people. Local herbs have long been used as medecines and dietary supplements, they have also been used externally for therapeutic treatments such as steaming and application of poultices.”
Relaxing massages, and ceremonies based on a set of traditional beliefs also form part of Thailand’s unique healing system. The healing power of touch and the creation of Thai herbal medicines are deeply embedded within Thai culture, encompassing Buddhist philosophy and wisdom, together with traditional practices in the treatment of illness.
In Chiang Mai, you will be able to discover the power of Thai herbs in the cuisine and also at spas (herbal compresses, herbal steam therapy, natural herbal scrubs and creams) as well as in Warorot Market which offers an array of traditional herbalist shops.
Let us explore some of the wonderful health benefits derived from aromatic herbs and spices which form part of the intricate and delicate art of Thai medicine and cuisine...
Lemon-grass has a host of medicinal benefits including anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It helps with the relief of stress and insomnia, it also cuts down uric acid and high cholesterol, while also detoxifying the liver, kidneys, pancreas and digestive tract. Must buy : lemon grass herbal infusion and mosquito reppellent.
Galangual is a member of the rhizome family and displays similar protuberant segments as turmeric and ginger but has finger-like stems and is known for its pungent flavor. Consuming galangal regularly can aid the digestion process and reduce constipation and vomiting. It has been found effective as a remedy for
ulcers and inflammation of stomach. Must buy : galangal powder to add in your dishes or to drink with hot water.
CHILLI PEPPERS “พริก”
Chilli peppers help lift your spirits. They are good for your heart and help aid blood circulation. They also help fight against colds and flu. Must buy : ground chilli and chilli paste.
Available fresh, as compressed blocks, dried slices and in paste or concentrate form, tamarind is used extensively in South East Asian cuisine. It contains a good source of antioxidants to help in the fight against cancer. It helps in the treatment of bile disorders, acts as a mild laxative, lowers cholesterol and protects against colds, flu and fevers. Must buy : tamarind sweets and tamarind paste.