***Interested in natural remedies? Uncover herbal remedies from traditional Mexican sources for healing and wellness in the Exploring Traditional Herbal Remedies in Mexico series.
It’s Eat Your Vegetables Day! So let’s talk about my husband’s favorite vegetable, the chayote! Chayote (Sechium edule) is also called the Mexican vegetable pear, mirliton squash or choyotl. It comes from the Nahuatl word chayohtli and is thought to be one of the earliest cultivated plants in Mesoamerica. Once the plant takes root, it needs very little care. It will continue to grow and produce fruit for years. Not only is the fruit edible, but the root, stem, seeds and leaves are edible as well. All edible parts are useful in the treatment of cardiovascular disease and hypertension. The chayote has components that are effective in the fight against cancer. It is rich in amino acids, vitamin C and antioxidants. The root, which is tuberous and cooked like a potato or yam, has been shown to be successful in treating kidney inflammations. The root, leaves and stem are high in fiber and have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels. The shoots reduce obesity and are good for the liver. Traditionally, an infusion made from 3 to 5 leaves boiled in a liter of water is drunk daily to dissolve kidney stones and reduce arteriosclerosis. It is quite diuretic. The leaves also are antibacterial and can be used as a poultice to dress wounds. I’ve seen people eat boiled chayote like you would an apple, however, I have to admit, chayote has a flavor so mild that it’s not my favorite squash by a long shot. It is, however, a staple in our bone broth and my husband makes this absolutely delicious dish with chayote, squash, tomato, onion and garlic served over rice that I adore.