Saturday, January 17, 2009

Natural Wisdom

“Cravo de funto,” Doctora Graça snaps a leaflet from the brightly flowering plant at the entrance to the Terapia - the building where the hydrotherapy and clay treatments are given. “It is good for dengue fever.”

“Do you make a tea with it?”
“Yes,” She hands me the leaflet. “Boil water, then add these leaves, cover and let it sit until cool. One liter of water – all tea is made with 1 liter of water.”
“How many leaves?”
“10 per 1 liter.”

I follow her around the corner of the building and into the empty lot of land nearby, it will belong to them eventually because in this area of Brazil brazilians can acquire (and lose) land by squatters rights. Here in the shad of jumbo, mango, and palm trees many common medicinal plants are growing.

Saratodo is for inflammation, Pião Branco is good for ulcers in the mouth and also for getting rid of Canida albican.s Mastruz gets rid of intestinal bugs of all kinds. Mamão leaves are good for malaria but they must be very yellow. I scribble notes as coherently as I can and try to mark the way they look in my mind – I need to come back and take pictures of each one.

“It is good for you to learn these plants and how to use them.” Her silvery hair makes a striking contrast against the deep greens of these jungle plants. “For when you go far out to other clinics and on the launches you will not always have what you need.”

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