Monday, April 25, 2011

Medicinal bath in Sapa

Tả Phìn in Sapa is widely know not only for its natural beauty, attractive grottos and caves, colourful brocades, traditional culture but a special products: medicinal bath by Dao ethnic minority, a good remedy handed down for generations.

Photo: Quỳnh Trang
Red Dao people (because they always dress in red) live high on the mountain and they are very good at medicine. Their life is closely related to forests and their traditional medicament is made up of medicinal herbs for healthcare and it’s preserved as a secret and handed down with a family, only for women. They are very careful in deciding the time to start for the trip picking medicinal herbs. If met by somebody on the way, they will never let be know of their trip, it’s a taboo. Picked herbs are cleanly washed and put into pots to be boiled, added a little alcohol, then in turn family members take bath, of course, the bath water is changed after each turn, firstly parents, then children. Guests are prioritized.

In Sapa, medicinal bath is popular nowadays and there are 8 places to serve the kind and the red Dao also have 3 bath-tubs for “homestay” visitors and it costs only 50.000VNĐ for each bath.
Bath water is made up of ten herbal plants, there are even roots to be used in dry or fresh. The herbs are boiled in 3-4 hours and always remain at 30 – 370C, very scented. Strong people can bathe from 25 - 30 minutes, weaker ones just in 15 – 20 minutes, if not to be “drunk”. The scent is naturally kept for a few days. Bath-tubs are made of precious wood like Pơmu. After a bath, we will feel relaxed, comfortable, all weariness seems to be gone.

In Sapa, professors and doctors from Pharmacy University Hà Nội were invited for research and advise. It’s said that the bath makes one’s blood circulation better, fiver skin, helpful to cure rheumatism, pairs in the bones, fever, influenza or skin diseases. These experts are doing research to help locals to make the medicines more convenient like powder or condensed. Medicinal bath has no side effects especially for women, it helps them restore quickly after childbirth.

                                                                  QUỲNH TRANG

Medicinal bath has become a product that contributes to boost tourism, to preserve cultural identities and to attract more and more visitors.

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