Jargalant Altai
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The Healing Powers of Amber
I bumped into this adorable toddler and her grandmother in a very remote village in Mongolia. It was her cute face, scraped chin and all, that first caught my eye. However, her necklace really got my attention. I immediately recognized the beads as amber but it seemed like such a large necklace for such a tiny little girl. With my guide interpreting, I asked her grandmother about the necklace. She told me it was to keep her granddaughter from getting sick. I later learned that many traditional medicine practitioners, especially those in the Baltic region, believe that the unique chemical composition of amber makes it the ideal remedy for all sorts of illnesses and ailments. I read that it can eliminate the flu, heal wounds, provide relief from headaches, relieve joint pain and the list goes on. In the present day Baltic countries, babies are still given amber necklaces to soothe teething pain. The application of amber for medicinal purposes actually goes back centuries, all the way to Roman times. In a country like Mongolia, where there is tremendously great distance between a remote village and the nearest town with a doctor practicing *Western* medicine, it’s not surprising that traditional medicine is still being practiced. According to the grandmother, the necklace would only be taken off to lengthen it so it would continue to fit around the little girl’s neck as she grew. Before I walked away, I wished the girl the best of health – she deserves it.
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