Ya Dong Lao | Medicinal Herbal Liquor in Thailand

Published January 4, 2020 | Updated February 14, 2021

Ya Dong Lao

Ya Dong Lao (also spelled as yaa dong or yadong) is a cheap Thai traditional herbal drink and medication, usually brewed and fermented in alcohol (mainly rice wine or rice whiskey, called lao khao). The herbs are soaked into alcohol for at least a month. The drink is usually served in a small liquor glass.

This typical Thai liquor, part of the Thailand’s traditional herbal heritage, is used by both men and women. Apart from being served as a ready made drink in herbal shops, specialized Ya Dong street-stalls, bars and increasingly in high-end cafés, restaurants and nightlife establishments, it’s also sold as a powder to prepare the drink yourself.

Homemade Ya Dong is common also—the herbs and other ingredients are placed in a jar, then the lao khao alcohol is added until the jar is full. Finally the jar is vacuum sealed remaining sealed at least one month (two or three months is even better) to optimally let the alcohol extract the ingredients. Before drinking the potion it’s filtered through a fine cloth to clear the drink from sediments. The taste of Ya Dong obviously depends on the ingredients used.

The herbal ingredients of Ya Dong depend on the goal of the drink; specific varieties of herbs, roots, plants and other ingredients are used as a potent tonic to improve sex drive, libido, or to alleviate or cure a vast range of physical and mental conditions, such as muscle and joint pains, kidney problems, impotence, low energy, or depressions, and so on.

Women may use Ya Dong Lao during their menstruation to increase blood flow and in that sense it’s also used to stimulate cleansing of the uterus after childbirth, helping to better expel blood clots and lochia, and dry out the uterus.

Pregnant women and those who have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, high fever, or allergies to alcohol are advised not to use Ya Dong.

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