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Vietnamese undergraduate drops out to launch traditional medicine charity clinic

Thursday, September 03, 2020, 17:01 GMT+7
Vietnamese undergraduate drops out to launch traditional medicine charity clinic
Staff members at Huynh Luong Clinic in Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam are seen processing their homemade herbal plants. Photo: L.D.L. / Tuoi Tre

Ly Thanh Trieu, 33, runs a traditional medicine clinic that caters to those in need. He dropped out of university while pursuing a major in finance in order to follow his inner call to 'help more people.'

Huynh Luong Clinic is situated in Long Thanh Trung Ward, Hoa Thanh Town, Tay Ninh Province, about 90 kilometers to the northwest of Ho Chi Minh City. 

The name Huynh Luong, according to its owner, has its origin in a Chinese folk tale. 

The name is a reminder that this life is merely a stopover, so doing meaningful deeds that benefit the society should be a priority. 

‘Couldn’t have done it myself’

During his first three years in college, Trieu believed that a career in finance would bring him a better income, enabling him to help the needy. 

“But it was not until my last year [at university] that I realized that money was not everything,” he said.

He believed that money could not purchase one’s health nor rid people of their deadly diseases. 

“If I train to become a doctor, I’ll be able to help more people, though I won’t have much money,” he thought. 

It was a tough decision to make considering the opposition from his family members. 

Yet, he was relentless in his intention and finally talked them into approving of his plan. 

“My family also gave me motivation,” he added. 

Trieu’s clinic has been providing free diagnosis, treatment, and medicine for over eight years. 

“I couldn’t have done it myself,” he confided. “It’s been a team effort. Lots of people have sided with me for years. That has kept the clinic running until now.”

Such support is another motivation for his arduous daily efforts in serving his patients. 

Another key advantage, according to Trieu, is the medicinal supplies coming from other traditional medicine institutes.

So far Huynh Luong Clinic has received supplies from Tri Hue Cung Clinic, Tay Ninh Holy See’s Clinic, Tay Ninh Red Cross’s Clinic, and many other facilities. 

And Huynh Luong also gives when others need to take, providing it has abundant supplies.

“Traditional medicine cannot be stored for long, and sometimes other charity clinics need what we have,” Trieu explained. 

Professional combined treatment 

From Trieu’s expertise, human diseases come mainly from their foods, environment, and lifestyle. 

In particular, consuming dirty and unhealthy foods as well as hot and spicy grilled dishes while living in a polluted environment and leading a sedentary, passive life far away from nature are the major causes of health problems.

Ly Thanh Trieu, owner of Huynh Luong Clinic in Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam, dropped out of college to pursue a charitable career. To him, helping people is the true priority of life. Photo: L.D.L. / Tuoi Tre

Ly Thanh Trieu, owner of Huynh Luong Clinic in Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam, dropped out of college to pursue a charitable career. To him, helping people is the true priority of life. Photo: L.D.L. / Tuoi Tre

Therefore, the treatment and prevention procedures at Huynh Luong Clinic combine traditional medicinal practices, modern diagnosis, and physical therapy. 

“Besides giving my patients their diagnosis and prescription, I often give them advice on eating habits and lifestyles,” Trieu said.

“Those are the keys to a healthy life.”

To keep his clinic financially stable, Trieu has developed a wide range of organic products with ingredients coming right from his herbal garden. 

Huynh Luong’s products like butterfly pea tea, herbal foot soak, or body cooling ginseng are popular with its customers. 

Earnings from these products provide part of the necessary funding for the operation of the charity. 

Patients from other provinces also come by in groups every weekend. 

For those coming from as far away as Dong Nai Province or Lam Dong Province, which are 100 kilometers and 377 kilometers from Tay Ninh, respectively, Trieu’s staff members offer complimentary vegetarian breakfast and lunch. 

The costs for these come from the clinic’s herbal garden and the cooks’ pocket money. 

Nguyen Thi Trang, one patient, returned to Huynh Luong Clinic after her health condition was improved following her first treatment. 

“Everything’s professional around here. They even provide meals for patients from far away, so everyone can rest assured [of their quality],” Trang said.

Protecting nature

In the coming time, the owner plans to grow and preserve herbal plants peculiar to their locality. This, he believes, can promote experiential tourism. 

“We can raise people’s awareness of how important physical therapy can be to effective treatment,” he added.

“Besides, we can derivate useful products from these natural herbs for our financial gain.”

Huynh Luong Clinic has joined hands with Animals Asia, an organization that aims to enhance animals’ well-being in this continent, for several years in developing herbal alternatives to bear bile.

They have publicly advised against the use of bear bile in medical treatment, and have instead recommended the use of 32 herbs which can produce the same effect. 

This campaign hopes to protect the endangered sun bear and horse bear in Vietnam from poaching and illegal farming. 

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Tien Bui - Luu Dinh Long / Tuoi Tre News

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