Similar to the Amazon River region in Peru, the abundance of medicinal plants in the Mekong region of Vietnam and Cambodia has allowed flora and fauna to be used in traditional medicine in these areas of Southeast Asia for thousands of years, and many of the holistic practices pioneered here have paved the way for medical research around the world.
One of many important plants in the area, Moringa, is indigenous to Cambodia and is incredibly important for the wellbeing and medicinal requirements of the local Cambodia people. Every part of the Moringa plant has specific benefits; the leaves retain vitamins and minerals when dried and are used in feeding programmes to fight malnutrition, the seeds have antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties and can purify water for drinking, and the flowers, when boiled, can be drunk as a powerful cold remedy.
The plant has a wealth of other uses – Moringa can boost the milk production of cows – as well as new mothers! This plant is a natural aphrodisiac, can treat gastric ulcers and boost the immune system to ward against infection and promote better health.
A producer of organic Moringa products in Phnom Penh, Cambodia has provided Aqua Expeditions with samples of the powdered leaf and two types of tea so we are hoping to be able to be able to offer our guests the opportunity to experience the remedial benefits for themselves on board the Aqua Mekong.
In Vietnam, guests travelling on the Aqua Mekong will also have the opportunity to visit the Medicinal Plants Cultivation and Research Center of Military Zone 9, in Binh Duc Commune in Tien Giang Province.
This twelve-hectare Vietnamese farm, the Dong Tam Snake Farm, is active in scientific research involving the rearing and conservation of the precious species of snakes, medicinal plants and indigenous animals. It is the largest centre for snake rearing and snakebite treatment in the Mekong Delta, having been established in 1979 in an area full of mines and barbed wire left by the US Army.
The Medicinal Plants Center in Vietnam produces traditional medicines and provides first aid for people who are bitten by poisonous snakes, administrating the vital antidote produced from the venom itself.
Guests on board the Aqua Mekong will be able to learn about the types of snakes native to the region, as well as watch the production of cobra venom for medical purposes – from a safe distance of course – and learn all about the Center’s efforts to preserve the endangered King Cobra.
Join us in 2015 on a Mekong river cruise and learn more about holistic health practices in Southeast Asia!