Leafy wonder

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It is easy to find the cây s ố ng Ä‘ i or tr ườ ng sinh (immortal plant). It is easy to grow (replanting a single leaf will generate a new plant), and is found in parks, gardens and many other places.

While it is used sometimes as an ornamental plant, its main value lies in its medicinal properties. It can be used to treat a variety of ailments including burns, acute otitis, nosebleeds, sore throat, pimples, bruises, inner hemorrhoids and insomnia, according to herbalists Quoc Trung and Le Hung.

Cây sống Ä‘i has a somewhat sour taste.

- To cure light burns caused by hot water spillage or brushes against hot motorbike exhaust pipes: Wash and crush three leaves of the plant and place on wounds.

- To stop nasal bleeding: Wash and pound two leaves to release their juice. Use a piece of cotton wool to absorb the juice, and then apply inside your nose. The bleeding should stop.

- For pimples: Wash and pound four leaves, then apply on the pimples. Or, after pounding the leaves, put them in a small cloth pack and squeeze to get the juice. Use a piece of cotton wool to absorb the juice then apply on pimples every day. If you want to drink the juice, wash and crush four leaves, put them in a glass. Pour hot water in the glass, and filter for drinking. Do this every day until the pimples disappear.

- To treat acute otitis: Wash and grind three leaves, place them in a small cloth pack and squeeze to get the juice. Use a piece of cotton wool to soak it and apply in the ear every day until the condition clears.

- To treat bruises: Wash and pound four leaves, put them in a bowl. Pour a little alcohol and sugar. Mix and drink once a day till the bruises disappear. The number of leaves will depend on the extent of injury.

NOTE OF CAUTION

Herbalist Le Hung advises care in using any herbal remedy as improper use could be harmful. Follow instructions carefully.

- To treat a sore throat: Wash 10 leaves, drain and dry. Chew four leaves in the morning, four in the evening and two at night after meals. Chew the leaves and hold in your mouth for a moment, then swallow. Repeat for three consecutive days.

- For insomnia: Chew and swallow eight leaves in the evening and eight at night before going to bed.

- To stop dysentery: Chew and swallow eight leaves in the morning, eight leaves in the evening and four leaves at night every day for five consecutive days. For children five to 10 years old, use half the quantity.

- For breast milk: If a woman is not producing enough milk for her child, she should eat eight leaves in the morning and eight leaves in the evening for five consecutive days.

- If inebriated: Chew 10 leaves. You will feel better after 15 minutes.

- To treat inner hemorrhoids: Wash 10 leaves. Chew and swallow the juice of four leaves in the morning, four leaves in the evening and two at night. Retain the residue of the leaves for direct application on the hemorrhoid. Put chewed up leaves in small cellulose wadding that you can buy at any drugstore, and apply it on the anus for five consecutive days.

Before application, clean the area with a saline solution. After five days, visit your doctor to check if the inner hemorrhoid is still there. If it is, repeat the process once again. Remember to use fresh sống đi leaves, not withered or dry ones.

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