It’s Flu Season & Here's Some Alternative Latin Therapies Used by Mamas & Healers

Posted: Apr 22 2014

-By Barbara Alvarez
Flu is making the rounds, whatever state you live in. Some traditional Hispanic mamas rely on yerbas to help make theirninos y esposos get well again. While some families will visit a traditional doctor, others will be more likely to rely on a healer or a curandero to help make their ill family members healthy once again. Let’s talk about just a few of these yerbas.

Flu, Cold and Cough
Garlic or ajo is used as a tea to help relieve those insistent coughs. Ajo also has antibiotic properties, something that healers are well aware of. Therefore, when they suspect someone has a bacterial illness, they’ll prescribe a tea made from ajo. This is also good for high blood pressure.

Eucalyptus or eucalipto is used for bronchitis, asthma and other respiratory symptoms. As a rub on the chest and just under the nose, it helps break up congestion and mocos.

Gordolobo or mullein has a suppressant effect on coughs. It also helps asthmatics – hmmm. If this wouldn’t interact with my meds, I’d try it! Oregano also helps to suppress coughs.

Stomach Illnesses
Stomach illnesses can rage through families like nobody’s business, keeping mamaand the curandero busy. Those mamas in the know trust wormwood or Estafiate to help with colic, worms, cramps, empacho, bilis and worms.

Everyone knows about manzanilla. When this is brewed into a tea, it helps with gas, nausea and colic. It’s also good as an eyewash and to help relieve anxiety. Oregano is also good to help get rid of those worms.

For gallbladder disease, the curandero prescribes bricklebrush or Rodigiosa.

Trumpet flowers or tronadora help those suffering from gastric symptoms, so mama, keep a little of these in your cabinet!

Oh, yes, the peppermint. My mom kept a little of that handy, because with five daughters, we were always getting sick with one thing or another. This is the good, old-fashioned yerba buena and it’s great as a warm tea for colic, gas and upset tummies.

Illnesses in General
For chicken pox, frio en la matriz and, as an aphrodisiac, Damiana is a good remedio.

I’ve heard of Azarcon or Greta, but these are oxides from lead and mercury! These are recommended for babies when they are teething or when they have empacho or indigestion.

Healers use Gobernadora or chaparral to cure venereal disease, tuberculosis, as an analgesic, cramps, arthritis and cancer. For arthritis, they make a poultice and for cancer, they brew up a tea. Anxiety and hypertension or high blood pressure are treated with pasionara or Passionflower.

Aloe vera or zabila can’t go unmentioned. Even though this plant is used the world over to heal burns and cuts, it’s also well known among healers and Mexican mamas. When it’s used as a drink, it’s an immune stimulant and a purgative.

So, go ahead and go on with your life. Your mama and the local healer will help you if you get la gripa. But ... if you have asthma, you’d better have gotten your flu shot! The flu looks to be bad this year.

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