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Fito Museum
Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine

"This is a tiny museum. It was rather a surprise to find it on our tour itinerary and we were not previously aware that there was a history of traditional medicine in Vietnam. Having said that we were charmed by the museum itself and by the delightful enthusiastic young woman who gave us a tour in English and explained the exhibits.
The museum is set in a modern building in a busy side street but once inside you feel as if you have moved into a much earlier time in a traditional house. It sounds tacky bit it is not at all. Really very interesting. I would recommend this tour."


The entrance of the Museum

          The Fito Museum - or the First Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine, is a mysteriously beautiful building that stores and displays nearly 3000 items relevant to traditional Vietnamese medicine dating back to the Stone Age, including medicinal herbs, tools and decorative containers as well as books, medicinal charts, journals and wooden paintings.
The 18 rooms of distinctive architectural charms on 5 floors are linked through a front or rear wooden staircase. A video room is also available to screen a documentary film about the history of Vietnam's traditional medicine. At the end of the tour, you will be invited to enjoy a cup of wholesome herbal tea fixed by the lovely staff.

Vietnam has a long-standing medical tradition that has served its people well for thousands of years. From ancient times when the country was established, people gathered into groups to live. These groups or tribes used their experience to form a body of knowledge on folk Vietnamese medicine derived from their experience in the fight for survival and against accidents and natural disasters and diseases.
From experience, many kinds of food, vegetable, fruit, herbs and natural compounds were discovered to be drugs or medicines. The proverb “Doi Rau, Dau Thuoc” (Being hungry, eating vegetables. Being ill, taking medical herbs”) illustrates the formation of folk medicine.

 

In this time, Vietnamese knew how to use ginger, arenga pinnata and other herbs and compounds for disease prevention and treatment. There was also the custom to drink eugenia to promote digestion, chewing betel with lime and areca for sweet-smelling breath, keeping the body warm and preventing malaria, tooth dyeing with lacca to protect against tooth decay, etc.


The Pharmacy

 

In the Fito Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, which we recommended that all tourists visit, there is an altar of the two famous traditional physicians. Over the altar is a board with 4 great characters “Y DUC CAO MINH” (bright and lofty medical morals). On either side of the altar are 2 pairs of parallel sentences, which praise the merit of the two great physicians. These two pairs of parallel sentences are originally from Thang Long Medicine Temple and Giam Pagoda (Hai Hung province).
Many acupuncturists wrote books on acupuncture and Vietnamese physicians discovered many new pressure points during this period.
You can admire the many documents and books that deal with traditional Vietnamese medicine. Check the scales, cabinets, pressure molds, a gourd spirits, teapot, kalkpot and other ceramic pieces. The Fito Museum regularly takes a documentary on the history of traditional medicine Vietnam called "A Century of Health Care Experiences".


The Altar

"We went to the FITO museum on a day when we'd hoped to walk around Chinatown but met with a downpour that quickly chased us off the streets. I had low expectations for this, but it was surprisingly interesting.
It's a private museum and it ends in a gift shop with traditional teas and whatnot, but there is no hard sell such. Part of what makes the museum interesting is the house it's situated in: one of the tall, narrow houses typical of a certain period in Vietnam (especially the north). This one was wooden and consisted of five(?) stories with exhibits on each floor. An elevator takes you all the way up, then you work your way down by steps one floor at a time (you could use the elevator to change floors, I'm sure). There are many old manuscripts, lots of equipment and good explanations."

 

 

 

 

 


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