Festival decoration is good medicine

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Kumquat, a citrus plant with small fruits grown both in the south and north of Vietnam, is a must-have Tet (Lunar New Year) decoration as a bonsai laden with fruits and flowers.

It symbolizes fertility and abundance. But the plant provides more than good luck. In oriental medicine, the fruit is said to have sweet, sour and warm properties.

Herbalist Duong Tan Hung says the kumquat can treat cough and hoarse throat, and give relief to those suffering from backache and arthritis.

- To beat cough with sputum: Wash 5-10 kumquats, slice fruits in half, deseed and place in a bowl. Add 5g of rock-sugar. Pour a little water in a pot and place the bowl in it. Cover the pot with a lid, and steam the kumquat for 10 minutes. Consume warm twice a day until the cough or hoarse throat disappears.

Alternatively, wash one kilogram of kumquat, pierce each fruit with a toothpick, and place in a jar with two kilograms of sugar. Let sit for a week. Take a teaspoon of the juice, add warm water and drink it twice a day until the cough and sputum clears.

- For hoarse throat: In 10g of kumquat juice, add 50g bean sprouts, 5g sugar and 100ml water for 15 minutes. The mixture should be kept overnight and drunk in the morning after breakfast for three consecutive days.

- For relief from backache and arthritis: In a pot of water, add 5g sliced kumquat peel and 50g of pig's kidney. Cook for 15 minutes. Serve the dish in the afternoon and evening for ten consecutive days.

- To treat indigestion: Wash three kumquats, chew slowly and swallow.

- To improve appetite during sickness: Wash 30g kumquat, halve and place in a bowl. Add 50g sugar, mix and let sit for 30 minutes. Chew slowly and swallow.

- To cure chills: Boil 30g of kumquat leaves in water. Reduce by about one third. Add some sugar. Drink hot.

- For relief from hernia: Boil half of bowl of white rice alcohol, pour in a bowl with 12g of ground kumquat seeds. Consume the dish twice a day after meals for several days.

NOTE OF CAUTION

Before any preparation, detoxify the kumquat by soaking them in 100ml water with 5g of salt for 45 minutes.

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