ERDENET, ORKHON PROVINCE, MONGOLIA — The water steams, then bubbles to a boil. Bayarjargal Togmid takes the pot off the stove and stirs in a bright yellow grass, known as manjingarav.
“This plant is excellent against coughing,” she says. “I drink it now and mix it with water so that my children often gargle their throats and mouths with it. It is far more effective than regular medicines.”
Bayarjargal grew up watching her mother harvest medicinal plants for her work as a botanist, but says she only began brewing cough syrup for her own family after the pandemic began. She and her husband got vaccinated last year, but she credits their use of traditional medicine — both homemade and supplied by a nearby clinic — for strengthening their immune systems. When her husband eventually contracted COVID-19, in February, he recovered within five days, she says.
A surge of traditional medicine users