Man in Mongolia : 'Dr. Campbell's' famous home remedies

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Health care in Mongolia is to say the least, lacking. For all of the arguing and bickering we do in America about our health care system, compared to most of the world, it is good (really good).

I have not had a direct experience with the Mongolian health care system (and knock on wood I won't have to) so I'm not going to talk about that. Instead, I will talk about some of the home remedies I have been told about. Some of these will definitely make you stop and think (about your health for example).

I have learned how to cure a cough, fix kidneys, and my favorite, how to cure an eye infection. So, with all of the health knowledge I have acquired over the last nine months, I think my schooling is over and I can now impart my newfound knowledge onto you. So without further adieu, I introduce to you my new advice column entitled "Vodka Cures Anything" with your health expert Brett Campbell M.D. (Mongolian Doctor).

Doctor Campbell,

This typical small-town Mongolia "supermarket" features many of the supplies for the country's home remedies as referenced by "Dr. Brett Campbell" in today's Man in Mongolia story.

I have had the flu for the past few days and nothing I do seems to make it go away. What should I do?

Batbold, Ulaanbaatar


This is a common question and it really has a pretty simple answer - vodka. The best I can guess is that your flu is due to germs in your stomach, and what better way to kill those germs than by drinking vodka? As you probably know, Mongolian vodka is strong enough to kill anything, including a full-grown man, so those little germs shouldn't stand a chance against a nice bottle of Chinggis Gold. I recommend taking a shot when you wake up, a shot with lunch, and then finish the bottle with dinner. By that point the flu should have been successfully destroyed, and if not, you most likely just won't notice the flu anymore.

Doctor Campbell,

I have been having kidney problems as of late. My doctor says he doesn't know what is causing it and wants to wait before he does anything, but I want something that can cure me now. Do you have any suggestions?

Ganjargal, Dundgovi


The kidneys are a very important part of your internal make up. A lot of Mongolians obsess over their kidneys, but for very good reason. The first thing you want to do is go to the store. Buy yourself some flour, meat and oil. Next go home and make hosher by wrapping the meat in a dough pocket and frying it. Now, this is the important part. As soon as the hosher is done cooking, pull it out of the oil and put it up next to your ear. Hold it next to your ear until you can no longer feel the heat. Hosher is the same shape as your kidneys, therefore this should do the trick.

Doctor Campbell,

I have been plagued by a cough for the past couple weeks. What would you recommend to cure a cough?

Nerbish, Omnigovi


This should work, just don't ask me why or how. First drink a lot of water before you go to bed. Then go to bed. When you wake up you should have to urinate like a horse (Mongolian humor). Instead of wasting that golden elixir down a hole in the ground, you should urinate into a cup. Now, this is the important part. You need to drink your urine. That's right, drink your urine. Drink the entire cup. Like I said, I have no idea what this does, but a Mongolian told me to do it so it must work.

Doctor Campbell,

I have been dealing with an eye infection lately and I am in excruciating pain. I have tried drops and everything that the doctor has given me but nothing seems to work. You're my last hope, what can I do to end this pain?

Bayaar, Seleng


As a male, this could be a tricky one, but if you can pull it off you should be eye infection free. First off you need to find a woman who is lactating (it helps if this is someone you know, and you'll find out why later). That is the easy part. This is where it gets hard. Next you need to get said lactating woman to take her shirt off (I said this was going to be hard). Now, although this step might cure some eye infections, it most likely won't, and you will need to move on to the third part of the process. The woman now needs to put breast milk in your eye. If after accomplishing these three steps you have not made matters worse by having the infected eye hit by the woman, you should be pain free in no time.

Now, I obviously had a little fun with these home remedies (especially with the dosage), but these are all things that I and other volunteers have been told to do by Mongolians. The truth is I don't really know why they do any of them. Maybe there is something to some of these ideas.

For instance, in Chinese medicine which has been around for thousands of years, each internal organ is connected to an external aperture. So a treatment of the kidneys in Chinese medicine could in fact involve the ears which are its external equivalent. Now, I don't know that hosher on the ear would be a Chinese doctor's prescription, so obviously something may have been lost in translation, but that doesn't negate the fact that the Mongolians still have the connection in mind.

So I'm not going to discard these home remedies (for Mongolians at least). I feel that if something is widespread enough as some of these ideas are in Mongolia, then there must be something to them (Right?).

However, as I said earlier, health care is not up to par in this country. There are ideas that may have some reasoning behind them, but there are also ideas that have no basis in fact and those are the things that could end up hurting people. It's an uphill battle, but, as a professional, I am here to fight it 100% of the way, because I am Brett Campbell M.D.

Disclaimer: Brett is not an actual doctor, he only plays one in this article. Any attempts to recreate these health remedies may result in serious injury and or death and Brett is not responsible for anything. In fact, if you believe that drinking a full bottle of vodka can cure your flu, well then I think you may have a different problem called alcoholism and you should think about seeking professional help.

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  • It's so interesting for me. I love to read Man from Mongolia,specially these home remedies.

    I'm lady originally from Mongolia, who already used to work for 10 years in health care system In USA . Not in actial doctor remand me pretty lovely memories.I proud now i can make any balance between 2 systems

    -- Posted by Otgolt on Fri, Mar 13, 2009, at 11:12 PM
  • -- Posted by Otgolt on Fri, Mar 13, 2009, at 11:13 PM
  • Believe it or not, the breast milk bit works. At any rate, I forgot about any pain in my eye. Great series.

    -- Posted by bigsoxfan on Tue, Mar 31, 2009, at 7:37 PM
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