Saturday, December 27, 2008

Vietnamese Bees Believed to Have Medicinal Qualities

Bee – Have!

VietNamNet Bridge - The highly poisonous earth bees in Thanh Hoa province are believed by many to have strong medicinal qualities.

On my way to Sam Son beach in Thanh Hoa province, we make an unscheduled stop at a roadside restaurant. My travelling companion is intrigued by a sign that reads “ruou ong dat”, a kind of rice liquor that is made from some kind of bee. On shelves inside we can see the insects in glass bottles with no labels. Nguyen Hoa, the restaurant owner, appears to tell us that this alcohol is very good for one’s health, most especially your libido.

According to Hoa this kind of bee is considered to be a cure-all by some. You can use bee-products to treat a fever, clear up pimples, clean a wound and even “placate a fit of epilepsy”. Whether the bees’ medicinal power is retained after soaking in a jar of alcohol is not known but Hoa is more interested in sales. “Tourists like this alcohol and often buy a few bottles,” says Hoa happily.

This species of bee is called ong dat (Earth bees) as each colony lives in a large hive made from mud…

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