Walk the Path to A Natural Lifestyle

by McNab Editorial Team

Bush Medicine

The first experts in the science of jungle pharmacology, better known as “bush medicine”, understood the concept of balance. For the indigenous Maya, sickness was a sign of an imbalance of energy. They called the life force that permeates through all things, ch’ulel. This life force is what connects us all. Not withstanding, the belief that there is no separation between the body and the universe may sound like a fantasy. However, the truth is that all things are interconnected. In healing tradition, healers spoke to the plants, developing a relationship with them in order to carry out their work.

Photo Courtesy: Leonardo Melendez

As there’s no separation between the body, earth and over and underworlds, the process of healing was one that required the cooperation of not only the healer and patient but also of the plants and spirits.
Getting back to our ancestral roots is the path to appreciating nature’s foresight. Additionally, a natural lifestyle provides cures and relief to the many health risks and obstacles we face in everyday life. Essential to a holistic approach to living, nature’s pharmacy may require a learning curve. However, when understood, it can be life-changing. As the movement towards cleaner living and mindful practices spread more and more, we are rediscovering the value of going back to basics with nature. Whether it is magic, a master designer or just a natural phenomenon that resulted in nature’s grand design, it is there for us to learn from and use responsibly.

Photo Courtesy: Leonardo Melendez

What to look for

Learn more about the native plants of Belize by visiting grounds like Chaa Creek’s medicinal trail, The Botanical Gardens at Duplooy’s and Ix Chel Farms. Explore acres of beautiful plant life, on your own or as a guided tour. Bring a notebook and a pen and hike through lush tropical rainforests while you experience the poetic intricacy of nature’s design. Feel ch’ulel flow through you and dare to become one with nature.

What to look out for on your trail to wellness:

  • Dysentry Bark (Negrito) Simarouba glauca
    The bark and root of this tree are used for the treatment of its namesake (dysentery); diarrhea, internal bleeding, and hemorrhages.
  • Contribo (Duck Flower) Aristolochia trilobata
    Used for treating hangovers, colds, flu and sinus congestion among a slew of other digestive ills. It is one of the most common remedies in Belize.
  • Copal Protium copal
    The resin is used to treat cavity pain and powdered bark to treat stomach pain and intestinal parasites. It is also a sacred herb to the Maya as they used it in ceremonial rituals to ward off evils.
  • Cockspur Acacia cornigera
    This famous herb is also known as cuerno de vaca and is used as a treatment to delay the effect of venom after a snake bite. The snakebite victim must cut a large piece of cockspur bark at least the size of his forearm, swallow the juices and then use the rubbish as a poultice on the bite. It is also a well-known treatment for male impotency.
  • Wild Yam Dioscorea sp.
    For bladder infections and kidney malfunctions. It also is a treatment for diabetes in its early stages.

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Original Article By: Drea Reneau

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