Plants that heal

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C i cúc (edible chrysanthemum) is grown everywhere in Vietnam. It is bitter sweet, cool, and richer in protein than other vegetables. It makes a good herbal remedy for coughs, persistent headache, sore throat, indigestion and fever.

Here are some simple and effective ci cúc remedies from herbalist Hoai Vu:

- To ease a child's cough, wash and chop up 20g of ci cúc leaves, mix the leaves. In a ceramic bowl, mix the leaves with a spoonful of honey. Place the bowl in a saucepan with some water and steam the leaves for 15 minutes. Sip the warm brew several times a day.

- To treat a persistent cough in adults, wash and chop 150g of ci cúc and 200g of pig's lung and place them in a pot. Cover with enough water and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and season to taste with sugar and salt. This concoction should be taken for three days.

- To beat a persistent headache, wash and slice 50g of ci cúc, boil with 100ml of water for 10 minutes. Drink 30g of the broth every day. The leftover leaves can be rinsed, drained, and dried over a gentle flame then placed on top of the head and on the temples before sleeping or whenever you have a headache.

- For a chill-induced sore throat, cough or fever, wash and slice 100g of ci cúc and mix with hot porridge. Leave for 10 minutes, and mix the leaves with the porridge for eating.

- To stop vomiting up blood, wash and chop 200g ci cúc, then pound using a mortar and pestle. Boil the ground ci cúc in enough water, then let stand until cool. Drink the broth three times a day.

- For peace of mind, to recover from exhaustion, or to stimulate the appetite, wash and slice 200g of ci cúc, blanch in boiling water then eat them.

- To warm the body, you require 500g of ci cúc, one head of cá mè (bighead carp, or hypophthalmichthys), ginger and rice wine. Rinse the fish head and fry in a pan until it becomes yellow and fragrant. Add sliced ginger and stir well. Pour a small glass of rice wine and just enough water to stew the fish. Finally, add ci cúc, turn up the heat until the water boils away. Season the fish with sugar and salt, and serve hot. This dish can also be used to treat coughing, headache, dizziness, nausea, indigestion, and even depression.

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