Khun Mool, grabbed a knife and told me to follow him into the jungle. I thought this might be good or this might be bad… maybe some history here might help.
For over 50 years Khun Mool J-Tapik, who said to call him Mool, has been an herbalist here on Koh Chang. Most people outside of the Thai community though don’t know very much about him. Now you will…
Thailand, to say the least has thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of plants, trees and herbs that could fill, and does, an encyclopedia.
Needless to say over the thousands of years that people have lived here in Thailand they have sought remedies, healing and comfort from the local herbalists to help them with various afflictions and maladies, Khun Mool has been in this role for over fifty years. Trained by his grandparents he has kept the local herbal lore alive and well.
Khun Mool, besides being a traditional herbalist, also runs the “Koh Chang Traditional Thai Herbal Community Learning Center” just before the waterfall entrance to the Klong Plu waterfall. They offer not only a herbal spa and such but also train people in herbal medicine.
Khun Mool was born seventy odd years ago in Chang Mai and fell in love with a local girl from Koh Chang. Like a lot of us he moved here and has been here ever since.
Most of the afflictions he deals with are skin conditions and he showed us the photos of some his patients. We would have loved to publish the pictures, but then again you might want to (or have to) skip breakfast if we did. Needless to say they are not pretty and run the gamut of severe fungal and allergic reactions.
Khun Mool said that many have come here after the hospitals and specialists have been unable to help his patients. He makes an herbal remedy and with a restrictive diet and a few weeks he says he has been able to help everyone. The photo album he showed us of before and after pictures certainly seems to prove that… People have gone from red and diseased skin to fairly normal in what seems like a few weeks.
As we walked along into his workshop just off the main road he was pointing out plants that helped heal cuts, what ones were good for “power” and even one that helps to get children off breastfeeding… We walk by plants everyday and it seems like we were walking by a veritable pharmacy in the jungle and had no idea…
Off the main road is his production facility for making herbal remedies, a large sheltered area that houses large tanks, inside of which are all kinds of plant and fruits that are being distilled, fermented and made into various liquids for healing. The smell was strong and reminded us of wine making but with a heavier vegetable scent. It was a strong smell, but not unpleasant.
The various liquids can take up to two years to be become ready and some even go through fermentation into alcohol (almost a wine) and then into a more refined state. Moon said that by taking so long to ready it helps to make the potency rich and very healing. The end process does not contain alcohol, but has refined the juices and enzymes of the plants into a more concentrated form.
After looking at the production facility it was a short walk up a side road in the jungle where he has an herbal farm and dozens and dozens of plants for healing and other uses. To be honest it just looked like a large garden, but on closer inspection the plants were grown in a very specific way and with a strict hierarchy as to where and how they were planted.
Khun Moon is a passionate man and he gave us a great rundown on dozens of plants that help with everyday afflictions and the main complaints of man kind and his knowledge is encyclopedic to say the least. Plants for healing cuts and bruises, skin conditions, energy etc… he can talk for a long time on each plant, how it is prepared and how it is supposed to be properly used.
One medicine we found interesting was a tea made from wood. The wood is rubbed on a grinder and the dust is then steeped into a tea… So that means even the trees have healing powers, we think that one was the most interesting… Never really thought wood can be medicinal.
Back on the road and down to the Spa, we had a chance to dive into the jacuzzi that he runs and it was a lot of fun. He loads into the water an herb mixture depending on what your affliction is and then just sit back and relax…. If you are coming to Koh Chang and would like to visit there a couple of things you should know…
When we say Spa, we don’t want you to have the idea it is marble floors and stainless steel faucets and Euro-Standard fixtures. It’s a Thai Spa, it has a hand-made Jacuzzi that runs off a converted water pump, the floors are rough and it sits right on the river. Actually its really cool, very rustic and a nice place… but it is not a Spa style you would find in the Alps at an exclusive resort, not at all… it fits into Koh Chang though very well…
So what can all these plants and herbs do? Well, quite a lot according to Khun Mool, he says that he has students come from Bangkok and other areas of Thailand to learn, and he did show us his government certificates, the before and after photos and the large production facility that makes his herbal remedies, the bags and bottles of medicine and maybe there is some healing in this old tradition.
Plants have always been used for millennia to help cure and ease our pains and afflictions, here in Koh Chang the tradition is carried on and continues. Like they have for generations people come to seek Khun Mools’ advice and healing plants. He will also teach you if you have some time and dedication…
A part of Thailand and Koh Chang we were happy to discover and share.
You can meet him about 100m before the Park Waterfall Gate or call him at 082-219-6524, but make sure you speak Thai, his English is not so good!