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Natural Healing — Pitahayas

Pitahaya AKA Dragon Fruit

With things being what they are these days, we have to take our joys where we find them. This week our big highlight was our cactus produced pitahayas, one for each of us. We planted it two years ago from a cutting from the neighbor. I’m hoping that this is just the beginning of a long productive spell. 

Hylocereus polyrhizus cactus

The Hylocereus cactus that produced our pitahayas (as opposed to pitayas which come from the cactus stenocereus) is the Hylocereus polyrhizus. It produces fruit that has a pink covering with a reddish, seedy (and delicious) interior known as pitahaya roja. It’s native to Mexico but found in many tropical regions nowadays. In our region, this fruit is also called tuna tasajo. Tuna is the generic term for cactus fruit while I assume tasajo is from an indigenous source, possibly Purépecha, but I couldn’t find an English or Spanish translation for the word. Another term used generally for the fruit from the Hylocereus cactus is pitahaya orejona.

Hylocereus polyrhizus is a viney cactus. Ours has snaked its way up the wall, but I’ve also seen it locally wind itself around mesquite trees. It has a night-blooming flower, so it is dependent on night pollinators like moths or bats. The gorgeous white flower usually wilts within a day or two.  

The betalain that gives this yummy fruit its red color is also found in beets, Swiss chard, and amaranth. Betalain not only makes a natural food coloring but also is rich in antioxidants. The seeds contain linoleic acid which is a functional fatty acid.

This seedy fruit helps the digestive process through prebiotics. It has a preventative effect against breast and colon cancer. It has been shown to aid in reducing cholesterol levels. The lycopene content that gives the fruit its red color is effective in neutralizing heavy metals and toxins including MSG and herbicide ATZ. Furthermore, the antioxidant and fiber content of this fruit may be useful in the prevention and treatment of diabetes.

Traditional Mexican remedies include a diet rich in pitahaya to stimulate appetite and improve digestion. The fruit can be eaten raw, juiced, or made into ice cream or syrup.

Two or three fruits eaten an hour before breakfast for two or three days are prescribed to help with constipation. To treat intestinal parasites, the seeds of several fruits can be separated out and chewed thoroughly before swallowing.  

The flowers can be cooked and eaten like vegetables. Dried flowers can be used to make tea which is used to treat nervous disorders and insomnia. An infusion made from the flowers is also used to treat gum pain and tooth infection. 

Dysentery was treated with a section of root boiled in a covered cup over a slow fire. The concoction was allowed to cool with the top still on and sweetened with honey, then left overnight to be drunk in the morning before breakfast. This process was repeated every day for seven days for maximum results.  

Pitahaya blanca from the Hylocereus undatus cactus.

There are several other varieties of sweet pitahaya available in Mexico. Hylocereus undatus has white fruit and pink skin. This is the type most grown commercially and known as pitahaya blanca. It originated in the southern part of Mexico. Pitahaya blanca is sweeter and has a higher sugar content than either the red or yellow varieties. 

The name reina de la noche (Night Queen) refers to the bloom of this variety. H. undatus has been shown to have wound healing properties when used topically and useful in treating oxidative stress and aortic stiffness in streptozotocin-induced diabetes. The peel has antibacterial properties effective against Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella typhimurium among others.

Hylocereus megalanthus has a yellow fruit and white exterior which is called pitahaya amarilla. The seeds from H. megalanthus fruit have the largest amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids when compared to the other varieties. Hylocereus Purpusii produces fruit with purple skin and pulp. 

Hylocereus ocamponis is native to the states of Jalisco and Nayarit. It’s pinkish on the outside and a darker red inside.

Have you tasted pitahayas? Which color?

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Learn more about traditional herbal remedies in Mexico!

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

Lady and the Plow

My husband decided that he’s going to do some sharecropping again this year. He hasn’t the past few years because it’s really a lot of work and little gain. But, since we have these animals to feed during the dry season, it helps to have a small stockpile of fodder to hold us over.

The rainy season doesn’t officially start until the third week of June. This year, being 2020 the year of unpredictability and all, we’ve already had several light showers of rain in May–which hardly ever happens. So most of the farmers have been out barbechando (readying up) the fields. 

My husband tried to get a guy with a tractor to plow the area he had permission to plant on. It has lain fallow for about 5 years. The tractor guy did one row and called it quits. He said it was too rocky and he didn’t want to damage his equipment. 

So then he tried to get another guy who has two horses to plow up the field. That guy said he was too busy with his own fields to hire out. 

Now, we’ve plowed before. Fiona and our previous horses Red and Beauty, have done excellent work. However, my husband sold the plow. Actually, he sold the plow three times, after buying it back twice. Currently, we have no plow. So he rented one from a neighbor for the week for 200 pesos. 

He hitched Lady up to the plow and away they went. My husband was absolutely delighted with her performance. In fact, he was so delighted, he set her up a new stall in the back yard. She has more space, isn’t together with the goats so Jolina isn’t jumping in her food dish, and can be entertained by Fred and George’s gladiator antics. 

Unfortunately, she stripped the guayaba tree of its leaves overnight and keeps knocking over the rain barrel. She also has been biting the wood on the bars around her corral. My husband was worried that she had a vitamin deficiency or some other issue, but when I looked it up, most experts believe horses bite the wood of their enclosures because they are bored. We all know that Lady is too smart for her own good. Remember how she kept opening the door for the goats?

Lady’s new area doesn’t have a gate yet, just those bars that you have to slide all the way out for her to come out. My husband keeps saying he’ll get to it, but he’s got other things on his plate at the moment. He went on a caminata (community horse ride) last week to Los Amoles (and brought us home a cold) and is going on another one this week (and will probably bring us home another virus). As a result of his “busy-ness” none of the quarantine projects are finished yet, including Lady’s new stall. (Can you tell I’m just a tad bit annoyed?)

Anyway, it rained this week, so some seeds went into the ground. We’ll see how Tlaloc treats us in La Yacata this year!

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The Ultimate Bundles Smorgasbord

Although some businesses have opened up in Moroleon last week, the status of the state of Guanajuato is still red. It appears that those of us in Mexico may be self-quarantining for some time yet. I’ve been using these home hours to work on several online courses that I enrolled in and been doing quite a bit of reading and gardening. 

I’m still working through the eCourses and eBooks that I got from the Garden and Sustainable Living Bundle from just a few weeks ago, but I wanted to let you know that Ultimate Bundles has several bundles up for grabs this week. These three bundles, the Work at Home Bundle, the Self-Care Mini-Bundle, and the Master Your Money Mini Bundle will be available at the listed price, with bonuses offers, from June 1 – 5, 2020.

Get your bundle now!

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I’ve been working from home for the past two years and I NEVER want to go back to the office, that’s for sure!  Some of you may have had your first work from home experience during the recent lockdowns around the world. Others may be considering how to restructure your life so that you can spend more time with your family. Wherever you are in your quest for more flexibility in your working habits, the Work at Home Bundle has something for you!

This bundle has 11 eCourses, 9 eBooks, 4 printables and workbooks, and 4 templates with a total value of $1603.90. This week you can get all these plus the bonuses for $37.

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Then there’s the Self Care Mini Bundle. This little gem has 8 eCourses and Membership Sites, 5 eBooks, 9 printables, and workbooks valued at $564.80 plus several bonus products! This mini-bundle is only $19.99 this week. I’ve signed for nearly all the eCourses and can’t wait to get started!

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Money is a concern that has me worried this year. If you’re in the same boat, then take a look at the Master Your Money Mini Bundle. It includes 21 products worth $514.95 (plus bonuses) for the bargain price of $19.99.

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Although the Herb and Essential Oils Bundle is no longer available from Ultimate Bundles, there are a few bundles that you can still get, albeit at a slightly higher price and without the bonus offers.

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The Gardening & Sustainable Living Bundle is now $24.99. If you remember it has 6 courses, 21 eBooks, 5 Planners, and Printables and is valued at $577.71. It’s a handy set of resources to help you take control of your food source!

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If you’d like to live more intentionally, then the Ultimate Productivity Bundle 2020 can help. This huge bundle has  10 eBooks, 29 eCourses, 28 workbooks & printables, and a membership site with a value of $2743.08. You can still get these productivity resources for $67.

Ultimate Productivity Bundle 2020

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If you have kids, that will be home for the summer, then you’ll want to look at the Stay at Home Survival Bundle 2020. It has 4 eBooks, 11 Workbooks and Printables, 5 eCourses, and a summit worth $493.19. You can get these amazing resources for just $24.97.

Stay at Home Survival Bundle 2020

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And last but not least, the Photography Super Bundle 2019 is available for a few more months. This useful set of resources includes 12 eCourses, 6 eBooks, templates & presets, and has a value of $1,195.98. You can grab yours for just $49.97.
Photography Super Bundle 2019***

Getting all the bundles I’ve listed above is probably biting off more than you can chew at the moment, but if, like me, you are spending a lot of time at home, there might be a bundle that piques your interest and you’ll have something new to look forward too as we wait out the next COVID-19 wave.

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