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World's Best Advice for your Common Cold!

5. Folk Medicine from Vietnam for the Common Cold

On my my way to Philadelphia last week I was chatting with a hotel doorman at 4 a.m. He listened politely to me practice my pitch for my upcoming book. He had nothing better to do than watch the TV in the hotel lobby.

He smiled and said my pitch was good. I noticed he had an Asian accent.

“Where are you from?”blowing nose


“What do you do in Vietnam when you get a cold?”

He smiled shyly, and shook his head.  “We don’t know what to do. We are just from the countryside. We don’t have any doctors there, so we don’t know what we are doing.”

“The countryside?  But what does your family do?”

“Well, we don’t know what any doctor says, but when we get a cold we have the person take a big bowl of boiling hot water, put it on a table, then put a towel over our head like a tent and breath the hot steam for 20 minutes, twice a day.  Then we take a nap and feel better.”

He shrugged apologetically. “But we don’t know any better.”

I smiled. “That’s exactly what my husband, the ER doctor says to do! You do it because it works, and it makes you feel better.” I thanked him and caught my bus, grateful for affirmation from the wise folks in the Vietnamese countryside.