For a temporary moment, in my life I was living in Garza, a small beach town on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. Cow pastures and animal farms surrounded by jungle could describe a little the location, but unfortunately the one thing I would need to outline the most about the place was the amount of dust that we had to handle during the dry season.
When I first arrived, I remember picking up from the ground leaf I´ve seen before. It always caught my attention how the shape looked like a human hand wide and open, and then shrinking her “fingers” to its core when drying. The old lady that was there to check me in, was laughing at me because I was drowned into this wild plant that grows every where here in the tropics, specially close to natural bodies of water. With a smile, she remembered that her mother boiled the leaves when someone had a flu to prepare infusions.
So, I went online and checked for the plant and it figured to be linked to the healing of the respiratory system. I washed all the dirt from the dry leaves and I made a drink with other ingredients like Ginger and Guanabana leaves to nourish myself after riding the dusty roads on a quad.
The bottle lasted the entire month without fermenting or loosing it´s flavor and definitely generated a soothing sensation on the morning when I had it before going to bed. But, the real magic of this amazing plant called Cecropia, (Cecropia obtusifolia) or locally known as Guarumo came to me when I was taking my Permaculture Design Course for the Herbalist Path.
Oh my Goddess. For months I planned and worked to take this course and for years I wanted to live that experience but, I got sick with a flu that even though it was being handled and I could feel recovery in that aspect, I could also feel that sensation of swallowing an animal who got stuck in my chest. I knew I was about to go back to a pattern of getting either a bronquitis or another asthmatic scenario as I had in the past.
Very worried about maybe needing to leave the course, I reached out to one of my teachers, the amazing Lala Palmeri and she handed to me a tincture made of Guarumo. The tinctures are very powerful because through alcohol one channels to extract all the medicine spirits of the plant.
El guarumo leaves are rich in flavonoids and other chemical compounds that turn out to be very medicinal to animals & the humans. Flavonoids, in specific, are known to aid the human body with antibacterial & anti-inflammatory mechanisms, as well as providers of balance and among other beneficial effects in cardiovascular diseases.
The medicine Lala prepared just using the leaves and the alcohol was the best expectorant I´ve ever tried. I started having it in a big dose in the afternoon and had more during the night because I was feeling very affected. By the next morning I woke up with decompressed sensation and after the 3rd day I started decreasing the amount and the frequency of the medicine. On the fifth day I felt recovered and finished the treatment.
This was the first time in my life, that the medicine didn’t help me cope with a bonquitis, but actually help me stop it just before it got to point from which only with aggressive allopathic treatments I could ease. And whats not to love about the fact of knowing that the main ingredient of this great, miraculous medicine lays on the edges and wild grasses of my hometown.
By Mariella Fuster