Mexican herbalism: Pa’l pain and give flavor – El Sol de México

The grandmothers wisdom and the ancestors is in the kitchenbut also in remedies for medicinal use with herbs that they include the same in their recipeswhat in concoctions based on herbalism.

Miguel Flores, biologist, teacher and author from the book The medicinal plants of the sidewalks of Mexico City, recovers that “herbalism is a tradition that dates back to before the arrival of the Spanish“Since the Aztec emperors, they already had an approach and a taste for them.” Flores highlights that the need to identify remedies to cure the common diseases of those times was the reason that promoted this discipline.

“The main uses that man gives to plants are three: groceries, medicinal and ornamental“, comments the biologist Edith Lópezin charge of Herbarium of the FES Iztacalain Dressing.

Furthermore, “as for the kitchen, The properties sought in plants are mainly to give them flavor and smell.for example in the Mexican pozole: If we break down all the ingredients, we see that oregano helps digestion”.

For its part, Miguel Flores clarifies that, although there is information, the diversity is such that it has not been possible to compile it completely because it is so infinite; despite it Attempts have even been made to find the properties of plants in every cornereven those that grow in the city.

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That is why trial and error is what makes it a discipline more than a science. Specialists agree that many of the elements that accompany plants are medicinal, but their culinary applications will predominate, because the flavor and pleasure of food is usually more appreciated than the healingbut in illness the opposite happens.

Apothecary in spice rack

These are some of the ingredients that you can use for your food and your discomforts:

Pepper. Ground has spicy or sweet flavors; Helps with muscle or toothache and to reduce fever.

Thyme. Perfect for flavoring sauces; It is useful for throat infection problems, since it is bactericidal.

Oregano. Flavor and season stews, meats, soups or broths; stomach anti-inflammatory.

Epazote. It gives a strong, bitter and resinous flavor; Helps avoid gas and bloating.

Chili. It provides flavor, texture, color and heat; Avoid hair loss.

Nail. It is used as a spice to flavor vegetables; for toothache.

Plum. The yellow and green ones are ideal for stuffing poultry or as a salad; treats stomach pain.

Avocado. Its peel leaves a pleasant flavor in the mouth with a touch of anise; The bark helps to expel worms.

Lemon. The subtle acidity it contains highlights flavors of the meats; helps control respiratory problems.


Herbalism is usually inaccurate, but consulting experts reduces the risks, therefore, Miguel Flores and Edith López They recommend these steps to follow if you have questions.

Know the species. Identify which plant, to a herbarium; These centers are dedicated to giving them identity. You can also approach a specialist such as a biologista herbologist or search bibliography, references and studies ethnobotanists.

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Know how to prepare it. Once identified, your preparation and the route of administration are the next steps to evaluate so that have no effects or reactions; It is imperative to consult doctors who complement its consumption.

Special surveillance. The ancestral knowledge of healers, herbalists and people who are dedicated to collecting it It’s good and you have to give them a confidence votebut always contrast and perform a job interdisciplinary.

How to use

The way you use these remedies depends on how you want to take advantage of their properties. Here are the most common ones, according to specialists:

Infusion. Technique that is based on heating the water and when it boils it is put out on the fire to place the thin plant. Cover and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Cooking. It is necessary to place the plant in water and release its properties because it is more rooted; It is used on hard species or bark.

Vaporizations. It consists of inhaling the steam from the mixture of herbs with boiling water.

Squeezed or pressed. It serves to mechanically separate the liquid from the plants and release the oil. It is collected and filtered.

Ointment. It is a dough made from herbal fats or oils with a creamy texture; It is used as an alternative to toxic ingredients.

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Emulsions. Combination of plant liquids with water, vegetable oils and butters, oleates and waxes, among others.

Extracts. They are prepared with the concentration of the active ingredient of the vegetable, and can be found in liquid, solid or viscous consistency.


Onion or garlic. If you are chopping your food and you cut yourself with the knife, you can use leaves of these as a dressing.

Millennial. In the 16th century the first written testimony emerged in one of the most important publications, the Codex de la Cruz Badiano; years later, the Florentino

Basic tables. This is the name given to updated research on the properties of the most commonly used medicinal plants.

62 herbaria there are approximately in the Mexican Republic

10 names popular can have a single medicinal plant

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