Category Archives: Health

Natural Healing –Alfalfa

Medicago sativa arrived in Mexico with the Spanish colonists in the 16th century as fodder for their horses. The original Arabic word al-faṣfaṣa has evolved to alfalfa, which is how it is referred to in North America. It’s still commonly used as animal food. However, alfalfa is also used to strengthen lungs, treat kidney inflammation and anemia, as a relaxant, to prevent scurvy, and alleviate rheumatism in traditional Mexican medicine. 

Studies have shown that alfalfa stems and leaves reduce cholesterol absorption and atherosclerotic plaque formation. Regular ingestion reduces hyperglycemia levels. It also has antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Alfalfa is also antioxidant and may protect the brain from damage as a result of strokes. The plant loses potency when dried, so using fresh leaves, flowers, and roots is best. 

As a detoxifier, three teaspoons of lightly crushed leaves are steeped into a cup of boiling water daily. For kidney infections, a full plant with roots and two Agave lechuguilla plants are boiled in a half liter of water for five minutes. Another remedy calls for four complete agave lechuguilla plants and one full alfalfa plant with roots. Boil them for five minutes a liter of water. Allow it to cool. Drink half in the morning before breakfast and half in the afternoon before dinner. Alfalfa is effective in reducing painful urination and can help with peptic ulcers as well. It has a mild diuretic effect, making it a useful digestive aid. 

For nerves, one cup is taken every other day with 25 grams of new leaves boiled in a half liter of water for three minutes. For anemia, the flowers and leaves are used in a decoction. 

Blend lime, alfalfa and water into a beverage for lung remedies. For general well-being, and to avoid scurvy, fresh leaves are often added to soups, atole, or eaten with tortillas by children. Not surprisingly, alfalfa has properties known to improve immune system functioning

As a treatment to encourage increased lactation, 50 grams of new leaves are boiled in a liter of water and given to the new mother. Since it has been shown that alfalfa has significant estrogenic activity, if the low milk production issue is due to hormones, this is an effective remedy. Alfalfa has also been useful in treating hot flashes and night sweating in menopausal women and increasing thyroid functioning. 

Boiled alfalfa seeds sweetened with honey is prescribed to alleviate rheumatism. However, raw alfalfa seeds and sprouts are toxic and can cause lupus-like symptoms in certain individuals. Seeds should never be taken during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. 

Alfalfa has a grassy taste, as you might expect. It’s not a strong flavor and can be easily added to blended juices if you are considering including this herb to your regular diet.

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Natural Healing — Chicalote

Chicalote (Argemone mexicana) grows in abundance in La Yacata during the dry season. I discovered that it has medicinal value quite by chance. I was looking for another plant, and found a picture of this one, which I could positively identify, having seen it year after year by my house. 

Mexican prickly poppy has several names, leading to some confusion. Chicalote is the name I am most familiar with, however in Mexico, it is also known as cardo, cardo santo, adormidera, adormidera espinosa, amapolilla, and Amapola montés. Cardo santo was the name given to this plant by the Spaniards when they cataloged medicinal plants they found, not to be confused with Cnicus benedictus which is also known as cardo santo. 

In Nahuatl, it was known as chicálotl, chillazotl, or xicólotl. In Zapoteca spoken in Oaxaca, the same plant is called guechinichi. In Maya, it is k`iix-k`anlol or k`iix-saklol. In the language spoken by the Tarascans centered in Michoacan, it was shate or xaté. And in Huasteca, the indigenous language of San Luis Potosí, it was known as tzólich.

The fact that so many different indigenous groups identified this plant so specifically shows its importance both culturally and medically. Chicalote was believed to be sacred to the Aztec rain god Tlaloc, the fact that it grows abundantly in the dry season notwithstanding. It was used to treat water related diseases like palsy. Most indigenous groups in Mexico believed that diseases could be classified into four categories, hot, cold, wet and dry. And that sometimes gods punished their subjects with specific diseases that must be treated with appeasement of the angry god, who would then send a cure. Thus, near drownings or lighting strikes (signs of Tlaloc’s displeasure) were also treated with chicalote. 

You should exercise caution when using this plant as the seeds are toxic to humans and animals that accidentally ingest them while grazing. On the other hand, a pinch of ground seeds mixed with water makes an effective laxative. 

The sap is an orange-yellow color and contains berberine and protopine. It has been used medicinally in Mexico as a topical analgesic. The seeds are also crushed and mixed with petroleum jelly for an ointment to treat burns and skin infections. 

The leaves when smoked have a slightly narcotic effect, however vomiting and diarrhea are common side effects. This hypnotic effect is the reason the chicalote was used traditionally as a sedative, for migraines and coughs, and for epilepsy. The Seri in Sonora use chicalote leaves to treat kidney pain and expel afterbirth. 

An infusion of leaves is used to treat nervios (nerves). Insomnia can be relieved with an infusion of 14 grams of the flowers in ¼ liter of water drunk before bed. 

For migraines, a spoonful of leaves is steeped in a cup of boiling water and drunk. For a severe cough, drink 1 cup of tea made from 50 grams of ground seeds and leaves that have been boiled for 15 minutes in a liter of water before bed. 

Traditional medicine also uses chicalote to treat diarrhea. The leaves are boiled with ground, browned rice and drunk throughout the day. 

Quite a bit of scientific study has been done on the Argemone mexicana. Not surprisingly, most of the traditional uses have merit and some new applications have been discovered. The leaves and stem are antibacterial, antifungal and anti-parasitic. They also contain anti-cancer, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. 

The leaves are also useful in reducing side effects experienced from synthetic medicines and are effective in the treatment of epileptic disorders. And finally, Malaria, HIV and morphine withdrawal have been successfully treated with decoctions made from the Argemone mexicana. 

Who would have believed that this scrubby thistle would have so many medicinal benefits?

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Ultimate Bundle Herbs and Essential Oils 2020

HEOSB 2020 Logo

It’s that time again! A new Herbs and Essential Oils offering from Ultimate Bundles is available. Honestly, it’s hard to get essential oils where I live in central Mexico, so I’m only lukewarm about those items. But the herb stuff! Now that’s what I’m talking about!

With COVID and now the flu season kicking into high gear, I’ll be spending just as much time at home as I have for the past few months in self-quarantine. My fingers are tingling to get started on some of the resources in the bundle. Who wouldn’t want to try some Healthy Herbal Sweets? There’s an ecourse for that! EEEK! Exciting!

Herbs and Essential Oils Super Bundle 2020

Then for those of you homeschooling, there’s a Mom and Me Herb Bundle Lesson with printables to keep those little minds active! And the Quick and Easy Family Favorite Recipes: Use Essential Oils in the Kitchen to Make Your Food POP with Flavor! ebook will liven up your dinner table. 

If you’re looking for gift giving ideas, then you can’t go wrong with the DIY Herbal Gifts for Men, Herbs and Essential Oils in Soap Making, Natural Facial Soaps, and Relaxing Home Spa: 24 Natural Recipes for Self-Care ebooks. 

If you really want to dive into herbal lore, then Medicinal Herbs Materia Medica Starter Pack ebook, The Herb Study Notebook: A Printable Guide to Deepen Your Herbal Knowledge, One Herb at a Time printable, and Making Herbal Preparations 101 by Herbal Academy ecourse are sure to please. You know I’m a big fan of Herbal Academy courses!

If you are interested in what you can do to boost your immunity with herbs, then An Herbal Winter, Simple Remedies for Cold and Flu Season, and the Echinacea 101: How to Use Effectively During Cold and Flu Season ecourses will appeal. The Happy & Healthy Holidays: The Ultimate Guide to Using Essential Oils for Health, Home, & Hosting, Healing Kitchen Herbs: 12 Common Herbs With Powerful Medicinal Benefits, and Herbal Teas for Winter Health ebooks will certainly make interesting reading in that regard as well. 

Available only through the Herbs and Essential Oils 2020 bundle from Ultimate Bundles.

Now, it’s time to toot my own horn here. My latest herbal compilation Traditional Mexican Herbal Remedies is part of the bundle. It includes 20 herbs, or rather 19 and miel sagrado (sacred Melipona honey) and their medicinal use by Mexican healers as well as scientific research on their effectiveness in treating a variety of ailments. This little book is ONLY available through Ultimate Bundles which will ONLY be available November 16 – 20. 

All in all, you’ll get 18 ebooks (including mine), 11 courses, 6 printables and workbooks, worth a total of worth $684.36 for $37. WHOO HEE! I’m all set to liven up my self-quarantine with a little herb action! How about you?

Countdown Timer Herbs and Essential Oils Super Bundle 2020

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