August 17, 2012
Natural Remedies from Paraguay
I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but I've always been fascinated with natural cures and living healthy. Okay, I didn't say I've always LIVED healthy, but I'm interested in it, anyway. Just don't throw away your prescriptions based on anything you might read here.
Any Paraguayan woman worth her mandioca knows how to take common weeds (referred to as jujos) and treat any infirmity, cure just about any ailment. These little leaves and roots and seeds--and occasionally fruits--get chopped up, ground up, boiled, dried, you name it.
Sometimes they get mixed in with a thermos full of water, to make the base for terere (cold tea). A few mint leaves to help with the heat. Boldo to aid in digestion.
Other times they are added to boiling water and make a sort of medicinal tea. I once had a terrible kidney infection that wouldn't quit, even after months of doctor's visits and antibiotics--which I absolutely despise taking. Finally, the ladies of my barrio came by with the seeds of the avocado tree, and ground those babies up pretty fine. Then they added water and boiled until we had a dark liquid, which I drank through a filtered straw (bombilla) to avoid the seeds. I might add that they really wanted to take these natural remedies by the curandero (aka witch doctor) before they began to "cook," but I insisted that wasn't necessary. Within a few hours of the first drink, my pain was gone, and after a few days of 3-4 cups per day of this stuff, I was cured for good. Can't beat that!
I can also testify that this juice works like a charm, because I drank gallons of it the first few weeks we were in Paraguay. It was a terribly hot summer, the middle of a long drought, and we were new to this heat. So the hotter and more faint I felt, the more mburucuya juice I drank, never realizing that the weakness was because my already very low blood pressure was plummeting with each swallow of the yummy yellow elixir. After passing out several times one morning, someone brought a nurse by our house. The story ends with a lot of IV liquids, the ER doctor telling me my blood pressure at arrival was "incompatible with life," and a strong warning to never again touch a drop of the mburucuya juice. How sad.
It'll take a little while for this stuff to strain through because of all the seeds, but use a spoon to move it around until what you're left with in the strainer is a moist ball of seeds like the picture below. You can throw those away.