Tag Archives: natural remedies

Natural Healing — Llantén

Photo credit: Robert Flogaus-Faust

Llantén (Plantago major) has many names in Mexico including llantén mayor, llantén de hoja ancha, lengua de carnero, orejas de burro, lengua de vaca, lantén, paletarea, plantén, anten, antena, chile de pato, and mucilago. Several sources also claimed that in Nahuatl this plant was known as acaxīlotl. However, this name actually refers to the root of the tolpatlacti, which is a reed and not the broadleaf plantain. The confusion I believe began from a description of acaxīlotl by Francisco Hernández de Toledo who stated that the leaves of the plant that the edible root is from are similar to llantén (plantain) but larger. 

Llantén grows wild in La Yacata and I had no idea it had any medicinal application until I started researching it. Traditionally, llantén is applied externally for headaches, wounds, burns, insect bites, cold sores, and eye inflammation. Boiled fresh leaves are applied as a healing poultice for wounds. Leaves added to rosewater (Rosa gallica) infusion make a cooling wash for irritated eyes. Leaves applied directly to the cold sore reduce inflammation. Fresh llantén and geranio (Pelargonium spp.) leaves are mashed, salted, and bound to the head to treat headaches. Plantago major has hematopoietic activity, is inhibitory against hyaluronidase and collagenase enzymes, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcerative, anti-bacterial, and anti-nociceptive, making it appropriate for wound healing application.

The leaves are made into a diuretic tea, gargle for sore throat and mouth sores, and as a wash for vaginal irritation. Simmer ½ cup of leaves in two cups of water for this infusion. As a diuretic, drink a cup of tea made from two to four grams of dried leaves, three times a day. It has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties as well as demonstrated effectiveness in the management of oral mucositis and a relaxant effect on the tracheal smooth muscles of the throat. Additionally, llantén is antigiardiasic and protects against kidney damage

Note: Llantén should not be used by individuals with heart conditions, those taking blood-thinning medication, or women who are pregnant or lactating. 

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Natural Healing — Romero

Photo credit: David Stang

Romero (Rosmarinus officinalis / Salvia rosmarinus) came with the Spaniards to Mexico. It brought its traditional use of cleansing. During the Middle Ages, rosemary was burned in homes to keep the black plague from entering. It was also commonly believed to dispel negativity. Curadeneras adopted its use as a spiritual cleansing agent, burning it in corners as part of a limpia (cleansing) and added to amole (Agave vilmoriniana) to wash floors. 

Traditionally, romero is included in remedies for digestive disorders, colds, hair loss, headaches, rheumatism, and regularization of menstruation.

“Rosemary is for Remembrance.” Romero has been shown to improve memory by facilitating oxygen extraction during moments of high cognitive demand. It has antinociceptive, anti-apoptotic, anti-oxidant, and neuroprotective properties and shown to have noticeable effects on mood, learning, anxiety, and sleep. 

For migraines, add a sprig of fresh yerba buena (Mentha spicata) or spoonful of dried leaves and a pinch of fresh or dried romero leaves in a cup of boiling water. Romero has proven analgesic and neuropathic pain reduction effects resulting from modulating neuroinflammation.

To slow hair loss, 20 grams of flowers and leaves are added to 1 liter of alcohol and left to marinate for seven days. FIlter the resulting tincture and rub it on the scalp twice a day. Studies have shown that topical use does improve hair regrowth. A hair rinse to promote shine is made from romero, manzanilla (Matricaria recutita), caléndula (Calendula officinalis), and salvia (Salvia officinalis). Combine the herbs and steep in boiling water for 20 minutes. Strain. Use three heaping teaspoons in a pint of water to rinse hair after shampooing. Encino bark (Quercus) and romero leaves are combined for dandruff treatment. Three heaping teaspoons of the mixture are added to a pint of water and boiled. Then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Allow it to cool and strain before using. 

For colds with a stuffy nose, a pinch of leaves and stems are made into tea and drunk as needed. A rub for colds is made with 20 grams of fresh romero leaves, the juice from one limón (Citrus × aurantiifolia), and ¼ liter of alcohol. Allow it to steep for 24 hours. Strain and heat the tincture until it is warm. Use it as a rub twice a day until symptoms disappear. Romero has a stimulatory effect on the immune system and is antimicrobial. It also demonstrates antiviral potential against the HIV-1 virus, influenza, and coronaviruses. 

A tea for digestion is made with 2 grams of leaves added to ¼ liter of water and drunk before each meal. Another digestive tea calls for 5 to 10 grams of leaves in ½ liter of water drunk 3 times a day after meals. Romero relaxes the smooth muscles of the trachea and intestine providing a choleretic activity, making it useful in the treatment of spasmogenic disorders and peptic ulcers.

A tincture for rheumatism is made by steeping 20 grams of dried romero leaves, 20 grams of flores de alhucema (Lavandula) in ½ liter of water for three days. Strain and rub on affected areas. Romero’s anti-inflammatory properties can also be experienced by drinking it. Traditionally, a romero decoction is prescribed morning and evening to help with rheumatism.

To bring on delayed menstruation or regulate cycles, drink 3 cups a day of a tea made from 50 grams of romero in ½ liter of water. 

NOTE: Pregnant women should avoid any remedy that contains romero.

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