Many types of plants found in Cambodia are used as traditional herbs to treat various diseases, such as giloy or guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) or aromatic/sand ginger (Kaempferia galangal) or rough cocklebur (Xanthium Strumartium).
There is also a plant called coral, which is rarely grown and available only in the Oral Mountains. It is a kind of herb that is sold for between 450,000 to 500,000 riel ($110 and $120) per kilogram for use in traditional medicine.
Loy Ta Sai uses one hand to pick up leaves while the other holds a walking stick to push himself up a rugged rocky hill. He is a coral gatherer living in Tasal commune’s Taing Bompong village of Kampong Speu province’s Oral district. Ta Sai told The Post that he was mainly a farmer, and besides farming, he did some other jobs to supplement his family’s income.
But when the rainy season arrives, he spends a week or more climbing the Oral Mountains, searching for a plant called coral to sell to Chinese and Thai traders for 450,000 to 500,000 riel per kg. They were waiting to buy it back in the village as he spoke.
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