Category Archives: Health

Mid-month Updates

2020 has been a rough start, but nothing we can’t handle. So here’s the latest from the Flores ranchito.


January 1 my new-to-me motorcycle decided it wasn’t going to start. It was something electrical, but what it is specifically had him baffled for two weeks. It turns out, the previous owner had done some electrical “upgrades” that crossed some wires. Taking those out and replacing the box where all the wires meet seems to have done the job. It still needs a new front light and gas gauge, but it runs yet again.

January means paying for the “contribución materia vehicular impuesto” or vehicle tax. In comparison to last month, this month was a walk in a park. All we had to do was take our tarjetas de circulacion to the Institute de Seguridad Social del Estado de Guanajuato (ISSEG) pharmacy. Each moto costs $135 pesos this year and the truck was $487. It goes up every year.


Speaking of things going up, the garafon (jug) of water from Santorini now costs $36 pesos, 2 pesos more than December and 6 pesos more than last January. Those refillable water stations that are springing up all over town are looking more and more attractive at 12 pesos a refill. However, I just don’t know how filtered the water is and where the water comes from in the first place. Is it hooked up to the town water supply? Because that water runs through miles of hot copper pipes isn’t drinkable at all! 

The internet also went up with no notification whatsoever. That meant we had to make two trips to town to pay the bill since our payment didn’t cover the increase the first time around. Our Blue Satellite internet fee is now $399 pesos. The satellite internet is under a 2-year contract, so theoretically it shouldn’t go up until the end of that period, but who knows? 

Stores in town are charging for plastic bags now as well. It’s nominal, at the most $1 peso per bag, but I wasn’t prepared my first day shopping of the new year and hadn’t brought my own. I’ll know better for next time. Some places, like Mexico City, have prohibited the use of single use bags, which is a good thing overall.

Gas has gone up. Soda will now cost 1.26 per liter. Alcohol prices will go up an estimated 4.5% excluding beer, aguamiel and pulque. It will cost more to ride the bus and leave Mexico by plane. But it’s just how things work–the hike in the daily minimum salary to $123.22 pesos ($6.50 USD) has to be balanced out somehow. 

I’m not an economist but speaking from experience, it’s awfully hard to manage on $123.22 pesos per day.


The last baby goat of this batch was born the first week of January. The moms of the kids born in December have gone into heat, at least if Stinky Chivo’s romancing is any indication. So we expect another crop of goats in June or so. 

We still have too many animals. Terry and George are still not friends. My husband didn’t prepare as well as he normally does regarding food during the long, dry season, so that’s been a weekly expense. 

Health Care

As it is now a new year, I needed to go and make an appointment at the hospital to see my doctor in May. I’m not sure how things will go when it’s time for my appointment since INSABI took over for both IMSS and Seguro Popular on January 1. There have been reports of formerly covered individuals needing to pay from everything from gauze to surgeries once covered by the national healthcare policies. 

If it comes down to it, I’ll be able to piece together something by getting my own lab work done at a private lab and having the doctors next to the pharmacy write me a prescription if I need a dosage change. Otherwise, I can buy my medication over the counter at Farmacias Similares. It will add to expenses, and we’ll have to cut other things out, but I’ll make it.   

So I’m feeling a bit frazzled and it’s only mid-January. I’ll need to take some time out and set up a more restricted budget for this year. How are things where you live?


Filed under Animal Husbandry, Driving Hazards, Economics, Health

Natural Healing — Flor de Nochebuena

flor de noche buena.jpg

Most everyone knows that the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) was adopted in the United States as a Christmas decoration when Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Ambassador to Mexico, introduced the plant into the United States in 1825. So since this weed was so highly esteemed by the neighbors to the north, the Mexican too adopted this plant as a holy Christian symbol giving it the name Flor de Nochebuena (Christmas Eve Flower).

However, it was valued prior to Christianity reached the shores of México. The Poinsettia, or Cuitlaxochitl as it was known in Nahuatl, was used by the pre-Hispanic indigenous people to make clothing dyes and treat fevers.  It was also thought to host the souls of fallen warriors making it a symbol of new life.

Nochebuena grows wild in many areas of Mexico. It isn’t a small potted plant that you may be accustomed to seeing at Christmas though. It can grow between 10 to 15 feet high if left it its own devices.

There is a mistaken belief that the Flor de Nochebuena is toxic. Although other plants in the spurge genus are, the Euphorbia pulcherrima has a low toxicity level. The latex from the sap can cause allergic reactions. If the sap gets into the eye, it may cause temporary blindness. Ingesting parts of the plant is mildly irritating to the stomach and may cause diarrhea and vomiting.

In the states of Guanajuato, Michoacan, Puebla, and Mexico, the sap is applied directly to the skin to treat warts and labial herpes. The latex from the sap is also used as a depilatory in some areas. Apply the sap to the hairy area, allow to dry and then rip off.

In the states of Morelos, Puebla, and Sonora, an infusion of the bracts is used to increase the milk supply of nursing mothers. Sometimes the woman will lick the sap or eat raw leaves as well. This use comes from the Aztec belief that the plant contains milk since the sap it exudes is very milk-like in appearance. In fact, this use was recorded in the Florentine Codex as well as by Francisco Hernandez.

The leaves are used for external inflammations and arthritis. They are warmed and applied directly to the affected area. Fora treatment of a swelling caused by a blow or a bruise, the bracts are boiled to make a poultice then lime is squeezed onto the area which is then wrapped. The ground leaves are also used to treat ringworm.

Infusions made from the bract combined with bugambilia and gordolobo (mullein) are used to treat heart conditions and respiratory infections. Infusions from the bracts are also used in to regulate menstruation. Another decoction from the plant is made to be used externally as a vaginal wash when there is excessive bleeding.

So this year, instead of tossing this decorate plant out after the holidays, perhaps you should add it to your home apothecary. 


If you are interested in learning more about the medicinal value of common Mexican plants….

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Filed under Health, Mexican Food and Drink, Native fauna and flora, Natural Healing

A Woman’s Survival Journal: A Guide for Making the Most of Your Life in Mexico

I know you’ll probably already overwhelmed with the shopping frenzy. You are either scouring the internet for the best deals or avoiding it like the plague. So it’s probably not the best time to release my next contribution towards the betterment of the lives of women living in Mexico, or maybe it is. Regardless, here it is–at long last! A Woman’s Survival Journal: A Guide for Making the Most of Your Life in Mexico. And for the next few days, the eBook version is FREE at Amazon.

Click on the image for a preview!

Keeping a journal clears your mind and helps you cope with stress. Journaling also is an excellent tool for self-improvement. Living in Mexico can be amazing and stressful, full of highs and lows and writing about both adventures and disasters you experience is a worthy endeavor. A Woman’s Survival Journal: A Guide for Making the Most of Your Life in Mexico gives you the opportunity to record your experiences and challenge yourself even more through a variety of prompts, exercises and quotes and ample space to record them.

But wait! There’s more! Surviving Voluntary Exile: How to overcome common obstacles to making a successful life transition will also be available for FREE until December 5.

Click on the image for a preview!

Have you chosen to follow your spouse to another country? Has your company transferred you to an overseas branch? Has the political climate of your own country forced you into exile? Are you finding it difficult to create a satisfying life in your new home? In this book, you’ll examine some common obstacles that might be holding you back from creating your best life in your new home and learn ways that you can overcome them.

Since these are the eBook versions, you’ll need your own notebook to respond to the journal prompts, of course, but I hope you will still find it soul-satisfying and empowering just the same!


Filed under Health, Surviving Voluntary Exile