If there’s one thing more popular than Lisa Blackpink in Thailand, it’s Yadom. The kpop singer helped introduce Yadom to her massive international fanbase when she said that she always carries it around in her bag — the clip then went viral because she pronounced it as Yadong, which is a whole different thing in the Korean language (adult video). But not only Lisa; almost everyone in Bangkok and lots of other areas across Thailand probably has one in their bag. In fact, if you’ve stayed in Bangkok long enough, you’ve probably seen many people from all walks of life sniffing Yadom in public. Some even have little white tubes stuck in their noses like it’s part of their body. But what is yadom, and why is it so popular in Thailand?
Yadom, the Thai staple
Yadom (ยาดม) literally means inhaler in English. It’s a disposable nasal inhaler made using locally harvested herbs. Most yadom consists of a combination of eucalyptus, menthol, peppermint, camphor, and borneol oils, so they have a strong smell that people find refreshing. Yadom also comes in many scents, depending on the essential oil used.
Most Thai herbal inhalers you’ll find in the market are made in liquid form and placed inside a tiny two-sided tube: the nasal inhaler on one end, and the other is a small compartment that releases droplets of the aromatherapy oil to rub into your temples, wrists or the base of your neck. However, these tiny tubes aren’t the original version of Yadom. The traditional version consists of a bag full of herbs soaked in oil placed inside a small glass jar with a metal lid. You can still find this “vintage” version of Yadom in the market as well. Thai nasal inhalers are also sold in roller bottles and regular bottles. However, many prefer the tiny tubes because they’re a lot more practical, small, and easy to carry.
The benefits of Yadom
Yadom works much like Vicks Vaporub. It comes in handy when you have annoying nasal congestion. However, in Thailand, Yadom is a cultural phenomenon. Besides opening up a clogged nose, it’s used for many different things. Everyone from office employees to taxi drivers relies on a whiff of Yadom’s herbal scent to fight fatigue, as well as to stay alert, refreshed, and energized.
Some people also use Yadom to feel comfortable when they feel motion sickness. Others use its soothing properties to relax during stressful conditions. Yadom can also be applied to your temples to get immediate relief for headaches or rubbed on any area of the skin to relieve insect bites. Many Thais also believe that Yadom can increase their blood circulation. Moreover, thanks to its strong minty fragrance, Yadom can help cover up nasty city smells and pollution.
Although Yadom can offer immediate relief in numerous situations, there are actually no medical studies that support true health benefits. But these nasal inhalers do make you feel good. And once you try using one, you’ll forget what life feels like without a regular whiff of Yadom.
Where to find Yadom
You can find Yadom in the thousands of convenience stores and grocery stores around Thailand, from the always-open 7-Elevens to big supermarkets. They’re even available online nowadays. In convenience stores, they’re usually placed in the checkout aisle. There are many different brands, but Poy Sian, Vapex, Siang Pure, and Cher-Aim are the most popular.
So, ready to become a real Bangkokian? Grab Yadom from your nearest 7-11 and sniff away!
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