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   Mar 17

Thai monastery detoxifies drug addicts with herbal medicine

(Xinhua) — More than 100,000 drug addicts from across the world have managed to get clean through herbal treatment unique to a decades-old detoxification center situated in a mountainous monastery in central Thailand.

Since 1959, Thamkrabok Monastery in Lopburi province has started to use a strong herbal medicine and vomiting to detoxify drug addicts free of charge, with a success rate of as high as 80 percent, according to Sasha, a Russian monk at the monastery.

The physical detoxification takes place every afternoon. Some patients sit in a row, take a herbal potion and then vomit into the gutter in front of them. Meanwhile, fellow addicts standing behind pep them up by beating drums, clapping their hands and singing.

The potion is made from around 100 types of herbs, some grown by the monks and others gathered from the mountain. Every patient will have to take the potion daily for at least five days during their detoxification process.

During the process, no other kind of medicine is allowed, as it is considered disturbing to the procedure of detoxification.

“It feels like getting all bad things out. Heal your body. It is like a beginning of a new life, being a better person,” said Jose Abraham Martinez Sulazar, a patient from Costa Rica.

Having used drugs for more than 10 years, he failed several times to get clean before coming to the monastery. He said he was convinced of success this time.

The physical treatment also includes herbal tea and steam bath.

“The tea you get before the steam bath has a purifying effect and can be taken all day long… The herbs that are added to the steam are exceptionally good for the skin, the lungs and the eyes, ” said a statement posted on the monastery’s website.

Patients have to go through the ceremony of Sajja, like taking a vow, before starting the physical purification, which is aimed to empower them.

Patients are also welcome to attend meditation and chanting activities to help with their cure.

“I must soldier on. It depends on my inner strength,” said Piano, nickname of a 19-year-old Thai patient.

The minimum stay in Thamkrabok is seven nights and eight days, said Sasha, who got clean about two years ago, but decided to stay.

More than 90 percent of the patients here are Thais, and mostly are male, figures from the monasteries show.

The treatment and the accommodation in the monastery, which lives on donations only, are free. Patients have to pay about 200 baht (6.1 U.S. dollars) per day for their food.

“(Once the treatment is over,) I will go back to start my life again… I lost everything to do drugs. Now I feel great, and my mind feels very clear,” Tuan from Vietnam said.

Source: Xinhua

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