Category Archives: Natural Healing

Natural Healing — Pochote

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Pochote, Ceiba aesculifolia (Kapok) is also known as apochote, ceiba, puchote, lánta in Chiapas, kuch (Maya) in Yucatán y len-o-ma (Chontal) and Matzu (chinanteco) in Oaxaca.

Once a year, the pochote trees in La Yacata are festooned with huge cotton balls. Every year I tell myself that I’m going to gather them up to stuff some pillows. This year I finally did!

It wasn’t as easy as I had hoped. The trunk of the Ceiba aesculifolia (kapok) is covered in thorns, so climbing is out of the question. The seed pods were mostly out of my reach considering these trees can grow up to 25 meters high. The soft, downy fluff disintegrated and floated away after I touched it.  It’s like trying to catch dandelion puffs.  I managed to get one shopping bag full for my efforts.

Since the fluff is quite a bit, uh, well fluffier than synthetic materials, not only did I make a huge mess trying to stuff a pillow, but my bagful was only enough for one very small pillow. Well, I guess I’ll try again next year when the cotton balls bloom.

This tree has no leaves when it flowers, making it a strange sight. Bats are the primary pollinators as well as moths and hummingbirds. It grows in dry and rocky areas, so it comes as no surprise that La Yacata abounds in them.

As with all things found in nature, the pochote has medicinal value. In the states of Mexico and Quintana Roo, it is used to induce vomiting. In Yucatan, the fermented bark is used in a wash given to those with sunstroke.

Again, not surprisingly, the cotton-like fluff has been traditionally used for stuffing. It has also been used as tinder for fires and wicks for candles. Recently, this soft material has been found to be effective insulation for refrigerators.

The seeds of the pochote are toasted and eaten in Veracruz. The roots are also edible. Craftsmen make jewelry out of the seed pods and carve houses from the wood.

Traditionally, infusions of the pochote leaves have been used to treat sores, snake bite, and dermatitis. Francisco Hernández de Toledo mentioned the pochote in his collections of works Plantas y Animales de la Nueva Espana, y sus virtudes about plants and animals found in Nueva Spain (Mexico) and their virtues.

There have been no studies so far to ascertain the validity of using pochote leaves on the skin.

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Natural Healing — Chayote

It’s Eat Your Vegetables Day! So let’s talk about my husband’s favorite vegetable, the chayote!

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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.

 

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Natural Healing — Ruda

 

Ruda (ruta graveolens) came to Mexico with the Spanish priests. Branches of this plant were used during mass to sprinkle the holy water about. Mexican curanderas have adopted this practice for their healing sessions. Branches of ruda are used in limpias (cleansings). The curandera (healer) will use this aromatic plant to sweep the body of what ails it.

Ruda has been shown to have an antiproliferative effect on cancer cells. It has antibiotic, anti-inflammatoryand antioxidant value.  A wash for sores and wounds is made from 20 grams of fresh ruda per liter of water. A poultice can be made with freshly crushed leaves.

It is an organic insecticide and herbicide. In Mexico, you will often find ruda by the window to keep out insects or sprigs kept under pillows for the bedbugs. Ruda is often used as a treatment for lice as well. An infusion of 35 grams of fresh ruda per liter or water is made then massaged into the scalp. The head is covered for an hour, then the hair is washed.  

Apparently, it will also deter cats, although my cat doesn’t seem to realize that and lays haphazardly on whatever section of the garden is the coolest despite numerous rue plants spaced randomly among the other herbs.

A tea made from ruda is sometimes used by parteras (midwives) to increase the strength of uterine contractions when labor has gone on for some time. Ruda was also used in infusions to end an unwanted pregnancy during the first few weeks. A tea to bring on menstruation was brewed with 1 / 2 teaspoon of ruda, albabaca (basil), epazote (American wormseed) and yerba buena (spearmint). This aspect of the herb means that pregnant and lactating women should not use ruda in any form.

Traditionally, ruda is used to treat earache. Simply soak a cotton ball in warmed vegetable oil infused with ruda and place it in the ear. Crushed leaves are often used on the forehead to treat headaches caused by tension.

In addition to the warning against the use during pregnancy, excessive doses of ruda can be toxic. Dermal application should also be done with care because the oils in the plant contain furanocoumarins which sensitize the skin to light and can cause severe blistering on some people.

 

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Herbs and Essential Oils Ultimate Bundle 2019

It's your health. Take charge of it.

I have been waiting all year for the 2019 Herbs and Essential Oils Super Bundle! And as I mentioned last week, my own herb book, Exploring Traditional Herbal Remedies in Mexico is included! Can you tell how excited I am?

A peek inside the Herbs & Essential Oil Bundle!

That’s me! Top right.

From June 5 to 10, you can get your copy of this incredible bundle for $37. That’s 29 eBooks, 7 eCourses & membership sites and 4 printable packs with a grand total of over $760 dollars for less than the price that my herb book costs on Amazon.

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There I am again–bottom row next to last!

Let me also mention that Herbal Academy’s Herbs for ADHD, Cognition, and Focus: 6 Month Intensive Course is also in the bundle. You KNOW how I love Herbal Academy! You just can’t beat the price!

You also get these amazing products!

FREE Summer Bundle from Puro co, $24.00 value
**Get a free bug repellent and skin relief salve
FREE 3 Color Gelatinized Maca from The Maca Team, $15.12 value
FREE Perfume Rollerball from MadeOn Skin Care, $16.75 value
FREE Essential Oil Diffuser Earrings from The Oil Collection, $24.00 value

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Plus, with just a few dollars more you can get the Self-Care Mini-bundle too! Two workbooks, four ebooks, two ecourses, a webinar, and a free membership to Alison LUmbati’s SAHM Casual Wardrobe Basics Builder site.

Buy the bundle now!

I’m positive you will just ADORE this latest Herbal Bundle! I know I do!

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