I recently read somewhere that we are experiencing this quarantine in the place we are meant to be and with the people we are meant to spend it with, even if we’re alone; there are no coincidences. I couldn’t agree more. While we’re all going through it in different ways, we are where we need to be.
Yucatán is possibly one of the best places one could be during a pandemic for many reasons, but we’ll focus our attention on one in particular: Yucatán’s flora is a powerful and complete pharmacy. There is a long tradition in Maya culture that holds deep knowledge regarding the benefits of medicinal plants.
Got an earache?
Grab a small (blueberry-size) amount of rue (Ruta graveolens) and wrap it in a thin gauze. Place it inside your ear overnight and you’ll wake up without pain.
Got a cough?
Find a beautiful pink bougainvillea (Bougainvillea glabra) and make yourself a hot cup of tea using the blossoms. Add delicious Yucatecan honey (a natural antiseptic) and you’ve got yourself a complete medicine.
Got a fever?
There are two wonderful remedies. If you have limes (the green ones, known locally as Limones), cut two into thick slices and place them on the soles of your feet. Put socks on to keep them in place. Drink some lemonade as well. This highly medicinal fruit has strong healing powers that will bring your temperature down.
Don’t have a lemon handy? Look for a potato. I once had a fever while in the highlands of Chiapas and the medicine woman that came to see me cut a potato in half, placed a half on each side of my neck and after about 20 – 30 minutes, my temperature began to go down.
If you can find Limones Indios (the small ones with seeds) they are also great for any kind of pain. You can place the whole lemon wherever you feel sore (around your stomach, against your cheek if you have a toothache, on your head if you have a headache, etc.). Get creative and wrap something around yourself to hold it in place. You will notice, in time, that the lemon begins to get wrinkled and change in color, it will also get harder. This means, it is doing its job and taking your pain away.
What about a stomachache?
Stress, tension, and some foods may hurt our stomachs. If you’re able to get your hands on some X-tá Ulum Maax (in Maya) also known as Cola de Alacrán (it’s not an actual scorpion’s tail, but rather the Heliotropium angiospermum plant), make yourself a tea by boiling a handful of this plant in two liters of water and drink throughout the day. It’s easiest to find in small towns and villages. Another effective stomach remedy is guava (Psidium guajava). Boil two or three guavas in two liters of water and drink the tea throughout the day. You can also heal yourself by massaging your stomach, clockwise, going from the edges of your abdomen towards the center. Breathe deeply, or hum a soothing song to yourself. This will help put everything in place and calm your body.
No problem! Again, our local Limones Indios and sweet local honey come to the rescue. Mix equal parts of these two ingredients and take one spoonful at a time. Allow the medicine to coat your throat and soothe the irritation. Allow it to stay for a while before drinking or eating anything else. Take throughout the day.
Remember that you should always ask for permission before harvesting any of these plants and fruits. Once you harvest them (or purchase them), place your intention in them. Do this by holding them in your hands and asking them for their healing properties, thank them for being available to you, and for the work they will be doing. When you believe, the healing will take place.
If you are lucky enough to be in a village, there are likely medicine men and women around that will know how to treat various ailments. With caution, you can ask for the recipe you need.
For more information on other medicinal plants, check out some of our past articles or write to us at [email protected]
Editorial by Andrea Medina
Photography by various sources for use in Yucatan Today
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