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Medicated baths for Yao ethnic group

By Yang Fan ( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2017-02-15

Medicated baths for Yao ethnic group
A mother adds warm water to her child’s medicated bath. [Photo/gog.cn]

The Yao people in remote Gaohua village, Congjiang county, use a special, unique bathing that keeps them clean and healthy in a challenging environment.

Living in the mountains in Guizhou province’s Qiandongnan Miao and Dong autonomous prefecture, the villagers have fought against the harsh conditions for centuries. They were vulnerable to be attacked by poisonous snakes and insects. Toxic air also sometimes shrouded their land. To dispel the toxins from their bodies, the Yao’s ancestors created a medicated bath by boiling more than 30 kinds of vegetable medicines together.

The medicated bath was listed as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2008. Its ingredients remain secret and are only passed down to the next generation of Yao people.

The well-prepared herbal medicines need to be put in a pot in a certain order and boiled for about half an hour. Then the medicated water is transferred into a wooden barrel. More water needs to be added to the pot before people take a bath. The bathers can relax in the warm water for 20 to 30 minutes.

There is also a sequence for bathing: older people go first and males before females. If there are guests, they go first.

After bathing in the barrel, people need to wash their faces with clean water to complete the bathing procedure.

Medicated baths for Yao ethnic group
Two children take a medicated bath together. [Photo/gog.cn]
Edited by Mark Ray
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