Bhutan is a land where the mighty borders are shrouded in a thick veil of mystery. The culture of the lush valleys fascinates every person who comes across it. Unique and, at times, bizarre traditions are intertwined among the people living in the rocky mountains. For a long time, the tiny Kingdom of Bhutan remained utterly isolated from the rest of the world. Thus, it helped to preserve its deep traditions, pristine landscapes, and some of the weirdest habits for blissful existence. Nurtured through centuries, these strange customs are still prevalent for wellness among the people. Surprisingly simple and endearingly genuine, here are the 5 weirdest living habits for a healthier and happier life in Bhutan. It’s a legacy they have inherited from their eminent ancestors.
1. Incense burning- a daily ritual in Bhutan
Lighting incense sticks enable people to cleanse their environment and revive their spirits. It is used as a fumigant to purify sacred areas and holy objects and appease evil spirits. Incense sticks’ invigorating natural smell fills the air to create a serene atmosphere, helping the devotees to have a calm frame of mind. The healing benefits of incense to the body and mind are considered a popular alternative medicine. As strange as it may sound, the practice of smoke cleansing is the profound mantra for natural harmony and well-being in Bhutan.
One of Bhutan’s finest incense producers, Nado, is gaining fame all over the world for an incense stick called Nado Happiness Incense. The recipe, a closely guarded secret only known to him and his daughter, involves a total of 108 organic ingredients all foraged in the mountains of Bhutan. While Nado doesn’t promise to give you happiness in a smoke form, his incense is famous for bringing peacefulness and clarity, two solid elements to find true happiness.
2. Hot-stone bath culture
Claiming to cleanse no less than 80 skin ailments, the hot stone bath culture adds to Bhutan’s list of weirdest practices for health and happiness. People continue to benefit from the conventional Bhutanese habit of soaking in medicinal water. By taking a dip in the luxurious bath, one feels rejuvenated. Today, the hot stone bath ritual has become renowned among tourists.
“Menchu” is a traditional hot stone bath consisting of fresh river water and artemisia leaves. River stones roasted over a fire to heat the water mixture in the wooden tub. The stones release their minerals, and the leaves submerged in the water release natural essential oils, providing a therapeutic bath experience.
The combination of medicinal herbs and minerals from the stones is highly effective. Hot stone baths aid in treating different skin problems and conditions like arthritis, hypertension, joint pain, and stomach issues. Above all, the herb’s calming properties help to relieve stress.
In the past, families would soak themselves in a hot bath after their seasonal farm work during the harsh winters. The long, healing bath relaxed their tired bodies and helped cure backaches and joint pains. Families would engage in this custom for several weeks while following it up with a nourishing meal.
3. Chillies for the welfare
A red face, watery eyes, yet a smile on a face is nothing but a spice-provoked situation in the daily life of a Bhutanese. Weirdly, chilies provide a happier way of life in the beautiful Himalayan nation. Grocery stores are packed with heaps of spicy red and green peppers. Additionally, you’ll find large red chiles drying out on rooftops or hanging out on balconies and windows.
Inevitably, chili is used in every Bhutanese cuisine. In Bhutan, children begin to eat chili at a very young age, and over time, they develop a tolerance for them. Spicy food is the traditional practice of naturally staying warm in winter and combating cold and flu. Additionally, it gives the body energy and nutritious fuel. Ema datshi, which translates to “chilli and cheese,” is the national cuisine of the landlocked kingdom and is a staple dish in every home. It is found in every restaurant. Various chillies are grown and used to make the dish, but ema datshi made of dried chilies is the most popular.
Burning chillies to ward off evil spirits
The smell of burning chillies wafts through the rural Bhutanese valleys during festivals and rituals, along with the sounds of prayers and hypnotic mantras. Aside from food, chillies play an important role in Bhutanese culture, particularly in religious ceremonies. Every house burns some chillies from time to time to keep the bad spirits or demons away. Many Bhutanese consider chilies to have supernatural powers and protect their families from sickness and bad luck. Hence, reflecting on some of the weirdest habits for a healthier and happier life in Bhutan.
Including herbaceous blends in the diet is an old-age practice in Bhutan that has resulted in a richer existence. Recently, a peculiar-looking herb with enormous health benefits has made its way into people’s everyday routines. Cordyceps sinensis, or “Yarsa gumbub,” which means winter worm, summer grass, is an exotic mushroom that thrives in the Bhutanese Himalayas between 14,500 feet and 17,000 feet.
Consumption of the strangest herb in Bhutan
Although the Bhutanese have been collecting cordyceps for many years, the practice was not made legal until 2004. Since then, the beneficial fungus has been widely used for its therapeutic properties. It functions as a tonic, boosting health and vigor, fending against aging, and shielding against several disorders. Traditional Chinese medicine uses cordyceps Sinensis to enhance the function of the kidney and lung meridians.
Drinking cordyceps tea is one of Bhutan’s most popular ways to take the herb. People usually take it as tea in the morning and evening. Sometimes people directly take dried whole cordyceps to boost immunity and energy. Some also like to consume cordyceps capsules and powder by blending them into smoothies and protein shakes.
5. Shilajit, an ancient source of wellness in Bhutan
Shilajit, a thick blackish-brown substance is a traditional herbal medicine for wellness. Consumption of this sticky and tar-like mineral contributes to another of the weirdest habits for a healthier and happier life in Bhutan. It has been used for longevity and various other ailments for thousands of years. Taken with hot milk, butter, and honey, it serves as a source of iron components for treating ulcers. It aids in enhancing the function of the liver and kidneys. Shilajit was traditionally applied to cuts and wounds by the Bhutanese to stop the spread of infection.
Shilajit is commonly referred to as mineral pitch. It is developed from the slow decomposition of plant and mineral substances. Shilajit is exceedingly scarce and valued as a traditional medicine in Bhutan because its extraction is not legalized and requires strict legal authorization. It’s a powerful and secure supplement that enhances people’s general health and well-being in Bhutan.
Bhutan has always been renowned for its culture, which features astonishingly strange customs. One of the most idyllic tiny vegemite on Earth is full of bizarre traditions that have made its residents’ lives happier and healthier.
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