Mejorana’s medicinal properties were brought to my attention when Chencha, the local curandera, prescribed me an infusion with equal parts romero (Salvia rosmarinus), mejorana, and tomillo (Thymus vulgaris) for my upset stomach after I missed a limpia (cleansing) session. These herbs should be boiled in 1 liter of water. Strain and add the juice from one limón (Citrus aurantiifolia) and a teaspoon of honey. It has an extremely herby taste however it proved to be quite effective.
So down the rabbit hole of research, I went. Mejorana (Sweet marjoram) has two botanical names that are considered synonymous, majorana hortensis and origanum majorana. In Mexico, it’s often prescribed for digestive problems, menstrual cramps, and diabetes. It should not be used in large doses during pregnancy because it has hormonal-altering components.
This herb is a Mediterranean native and was brought to Mexico with the Spanish conquerors. It is similar to oregano in flavor but slightly sweeter hence the name ‘Sweet Marjoram.’
For digestive issues, drink 2 cups a day of an infusion made from fresh cuttings. Use 1 finger-sized sprig for each cup. If using dried mejorana, use one tablespoon for each cup of water. For headaches, dip a cloth into the infusion and cover the eyes with it.
I don’t know about you, but 2021 brought with it a lot of bad energy and sorrow. My mom died in May. My uncle, her youngest brother, died in November. People that I love have been ill and have yet to recover. The uncertainty of what might be open and what remained closed and whether it would be better to avoid holiday social gatherings brought more stress. The rising cost of living. Employment uncertainty. I could go on, but you get the gist.
With all of this, my sister-in-law decided that it would be fortuitous to visit Chencha, the curandera again. We haven’t been there in years. In fact, Chencha did not receive any visitors for over a year when she was recovering from COVID and in mourning for her husband that died of the same illness. But since she was up and about again, a spry 70-year-old, my sister-in-law made an appointment for us.
We were the only visitors in the waiting room at each visit. We all wore masks and took proper sanitary precautions. And so here’s how the limpias went.
Both my sister-in-law and I had her read the cards for us first. Our readings were very similar, the main difference being that T. would be introduced to a man from the U.S. shortly and have a whirlwind romance. No romance in my future. However, all the projects I have in mind will work out to my benefit, which was mostly my concern. I tend to overdo it when it comes to future plans.
Then it was time for the limpia, cleansing. I called my husband in and had him go first. He wasn’t expecting that. He didn’t want his cards read either. Said he didn’t want to know. Anyway, Chencha started her prayers and all of a sudden burped so loud I imagine people in the street could hear it. She stopped a moment and said that my husband “andas bien fregado” (in bad shape). I have to agree with her there. She started again with the egg and rue branch movement and upped the intensity of her prayer.
When she finished and went to crack the egg that had passed over and around my husband’s body, there was some sort of black figure in the yolk. She said it looked like a person in a wheelchair. Her interpretation of that was that someone was seeking to harm him. Their intentions were that he’d end up unable to get around, an invalid. She gave him a candle, a blessed Jesus card, and a bottle of Chloro-feel, mint-flavored. This beverage contained sodium copper chlorophyllin (a digestive aid), methylparaben (a preservative), mint, and propylparaben (an anti-fungal and anti-microbial compound). He was to drink a shot of it 2-3 times a day. He did and it certainly cleaned out his intestines.
T. and I had a bit of salado (saltiness) in our egg. This is thought to be due to people’s jealousies and their petty actions caused by that. I’m never too chuffed about what other people think of me. T., on the other hand, was all in a dither. Since none of us had clear yolks, we went back a second time.
The second visit resulted in a nearly clear egg for me, a cloudy one for T. and an extremely cloudy, but no black figure for my husband. Chencha also gave T and me plants. She said these were called La Flor del Espiritu Santo (Holy Spirit Flower) because the flower looked like a dove. There are a variety of colors, but ours were orange/yellow. She said these would bring money into our place of business if we planted them there. Since T and I both work out of our homes, we planted them there. For plant lovers, this plant is Epidendrum radicans Pav. ex Lindl., which is a type of wild orchid.
I didn’t go to the third session. I developed a rapid onset stomach flu or something and stayed in bed. My husband and T. went and had their limpias. T. was nearly better, but could stand for one more session. My husband was still in bad shape.
Chencha sent a remedy home for me with my husband. She told him (and even wrote it down) to make a tea with equal parts romero, mejorano, and tomillo. Boil them in 1 liter of water. Then strain and serve. Add one tablespoon of honey and the juice from one limón.
I had all of those ingredients on hand and my tea was soon prepared. I drank two cups before bed. By morning my fever was gone and my stomach was improved. YEAH!
So, in all, I can’t say the three of us were rid of the bad 2021 mojo completely according to the egg thingy. It looks like we’ll be carrying some of it forward into 2022. Well, I guess we’ll have to see how it goes then. Onward!
Yerba buena, (also spelled hierba buena) otherwise known as Spearmint, is yet another herb that came with the Spanish friars and was gleefully added to the indigenous medicinal herb garden.
Curanderas (healers) add spearmint to make a concoction more palatable but it also has its own medicinal value.
To treat acid indigestion, gastritis, heartburn, and nausea steep dried or fresh yerba buena for 15 minutes. Allow the tea to cool to room temperature. Add limón and baking soda and drink as needed. Nausea caused by pregnancy tea is made from yerba buena flavored with canela (cinnamon). Nausea caused by a hangover calls for a tea made from a spoonful of yerba buena flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Intestinal inflammations are traditionally treated with an infusion of powdered root. Spearmint has a proven antispasmodic effect.
For the most part, yerba buena (good herb) is still used primarily to treat stomach ailments in Mexico, although the herb has other medicinal properties worth noting.
Yerba buena is often used to reduce flem. To make a tea for colds and flu, boil 10 grams of the leaves for each 1 / 2 liter of water. Tea for a headache is made with a sprig of fresh hierbabuena and a few romero leaves (rosemary).
Babies are given teaspoons weak tea made from yerba buena then they have hiccups and are teething. If a baby is colicky, basil, cempasuchil, eneldo (dill), fennel, senna, yerba buena, brook mint, rosa de castilla (rose) are combined in equal parts. Three fingers full (a good pinch) of the mix is steeped in a liter of water.
Yerba buena is a natural food preservative and can be used as an organic insecticide. It also prohibits the growth of certain fungi on plants.
Overall, yerba buena is a good herb to have on hand.