Korean Home Remedies and Other Cultural Insights
Korean Home Remedies
Korea has many household remedies from primitive days that has been passed down through the generations by ancestors. Such remedies are called Min-Gan-Yo-Beop (민간요법) and they are used even today to take care of day to day sickness. Some of them are listed below.
The Secret behind Korean Women’s beautiful flawless skin -
Secret # 1 – The water that remains after washing rice is contains excellent moisturizing properties that are good for the skin. Washing your face with this water can help your skin become more translucent and supple. It purifies the skin and has a whitening effect. It is also an efficient and go–green way of recycling water.
Secret # 2 - Ttae-Su-Gun, is the towel used by Korean women to wash their body while taking a bath. It exfoliates the skin, removing all the dirt and residue collected over time. It gives a massage like effect and helps purify blood, thus helping the skin stay healthy.
Hangover Cure – Dried Pollack Soup made from Buk Eo is a great hangover remedy. Buk Eo, is a dried form of Pollack fish. It is low in fat and highly effective in breaking down amino acids. Kongnamul gook (Soybean Sprout Soup) is also a popular hangover remedy.
Shoulder Pain – Wrapping boiled red beans in cloth and putting it on the shoulder helps relieve shoulder pain.
Cold – Place green onion slices near your nose to help you recover from cold. Have Ginger tea by boiling few thinly cut slices of ginger with lemon and honey. And the very popular cold cure – spicy chicken soup – with kimchi, ginger, garlic and ground pepper.
Cough and sore throat – Eat steamed Asian pears made by cutting the pear into pieces, mixing it generously with honey and then steaming it in a poaching cup for about ten minutes.
Korean Ginseng – There are two types of Ginseng found in Korea
1. InSam which is grown by the farmer
2. SanSam (mountain ginseng) which grows by itself in the wild and is said to be more powerful
Red Korean Ginsengstrengthens the immunity system and blood circulation, alleviate exhaustion, stress and is good for liver and diabetes. “Mountain Ginseng” is supposed to be good for ailments where regular medicines are ineffective and it has similar uses as regular ginseng only that is is far more effective. Mountain ginseng is considered one of the finest of medicines, good for almost all sicknesses.
Korean Cultural Insights
Eureka!! – in Korean is Simbwatda. Since sansam (mountain ginseng) is rare and hard to find, there are people who make a living by gathering sansam in the mountains. These people are called simmani. Before they head to the mountain area, simmani hold scared rituals honoring mountain gods. And when they discover sansam they cry – 심봤다 (simbwatda) – to inform their fellow simmani, who would then gather and lie prostrate until all the sansam that had been discovered was unearthed and thank the mountain gods. Nowadays people use simbwatda as metaphor, if they come across something that is rare and precious.
Toilet Paper Rolls - don’t be surprised if you are gifted a toilet paper roll in South Korea, as it symbolizes longevity and something that is smooth and flowing. So Koreans normally gift toilet paper rolls to a couple who are moving into a new house for their long lasting relationship and to kids who are appearing for exam for easy and free flowing memory to crack the exam.
Dung Mok – Dung means back, Mok means neck. It means an upper body shower on a hot day.
Celebrating the babies first birthday – parents in Korea celebrate their child’s first birthday with a party. At the event, it is a tradition for the baby to choose from an array of items that commonly includes a pencil, notebook, money, computer mouse and string. Each item represents a different destiny. The child’s selection is customarily thought to say something about his or her future. Pen and notebook signifies philosophy, scholar, teacher or professor. Money stands for fortune. And string stands for long life.
Korean Age vs Western Age - If your western age is say 25 then in Korea your age would be regarded as 26. Koreans are considered to be one-year old at the time of birth and on the next Lunar New Year, the newborn along with all other Koreans, ages by an year. So if someone is born in January and Lunar New Year is in February, he would be one year old in December and then two in February. Pretty strange because the kid will be 2 years old in the time-span of just 2 months.
Birthday Soup – also known as Miyeok Gook (미역국), is traditionally served to new mothers after childbirth, to replenish the amount of blood lost during labor. It also helps in producing breast milk. So, while a baby’s mother has this soup, the baby also consumes it through the milk. Thus Koreans have this soup every year on their birthday to remind themselves about their mother’s hard work for delivering them and accordingly express gratitude to their mother.
Gawi-Bawi-Bo - is korean version of playing rock-paper-scissor. Where gawi is scissor, bawi is rock and bo is paper. Koreans play this a lot.