In the book Bless Me, Ultima, Ultima and Antonio gather different herbs and plants that help aid Ultima in curing other individuals. Many of the herbs used by Ultima can be found inside our herbal remedies used today. For example, numerous self-proclaimed curanderos use osha, juniper, la yerba de manso, oregano, and various other plants and herbs for their numerous health benefits. Although these plants and herbs contain countless health benefits, some have harmful side effects. Overall, the use of many different herbs and plants is safe and beneficial to your health and can also help flavour foods. Osha is a herb that can be found in deep, humid soils plentiful of organic matter at altitudes between 9,000 and 10,000 feet in Taos, New Mexico and other Rocky mountain regions of the southwest.
Osha was used in the book Bless Me, Ultima, when Ultima harvests them because it can cure everything. “We were also lucky to find some oshá, because this plant grows better in the mountains. It is like la yerba del manso, a cure for everything. It cures coughs or colds, cuts and bruises, rheumatism and stomach troubles, and my father once said the old sheepherders used it to keep poisonous snakes away from their bedrolls by sprinkling them with oshá powder.”(Anaya 40) The scientific name of the plant is Ligusticum porteri.
Historically, osha has been utilized for medicine by Native American and Hispanic cultures. Now, this herb is used for sore throat, bronchitis, cough, common cold, influenza, swine flu, and pneumonia. It also helps to treat other viral infections such as herpes and HIV/AIDS. Some people use osha for indigestion. Osha root helps relief respiratory problems by increasing expectoration, which clears mucus from the sinuses and lungs. The plant carries chemicals that might battle viral and bacterial infections. Osha cultivates at high elevations in the Western US and is challenging to grow.
Osha is safe for most people. The plant Juniper is distributed throughout the northern hemisphere on rocky soils. This plant was important in Bless Me, Ultima, when Ultima requested juniper branches for healing and when she asked the owl to be buried under a juniper tree. “Place many juniper branches on the platform. Cut many branches because we may have to burn for a long time.
Have Antonio cut them, he understands the power of the tree”(Anaya 231).”Now, take the owl, go west into the hills until you find a forked juniper tree, there bury the owl.”(Anaya 260). Juniper is a sprawling shrub with needle like leaves. Juniper berries contain an aromatic, hot aroma and a little bittersweet flavour. The berry like megastrobilus of Juniper is utilized for seasoning foods and alcoholic beverages. These berries also take away the spoiled taste of venison, spice up sauces and stuffings, in pickling meats, and to flavour liqueurs and bitters.
Juniper berries can also benefit health. For example, one vital aid of juniper berries is the antioxidants they contain. Antioxidants aid your body oppose and prevent disease because they relieve oxidative stress caused by too many free radicals in your system. Also, one of the most common uses for juniper berries is to treat skin issues such as rash or eczema. The antioxidants they contain are probably one major reason this can be effective.
From a lab study in South Korea, it also seems possible that juniper berry extract could be able to help treat skin pigmentation disorders like vitiligo. Juniper berries have long been deemed to be a digestive aid in folk medicine, but not much research has been examined. But, one study reported that feeding milk cows juniper berry essential oil, did result in improved digestive behavior. A study from Mie University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan studied the effects of a therapeutic fragrance, including juniper berry on insomniacs.
26 of the 29 subjects were able to reduce their medication after circulating the fragrance during the night, and 12 people stopped taking medication entirely for insomniacs by the end of the survey. Because of its antioxidant features, Juniper berries can help heart function. For example, juniper berry essential oil has been found to improve heart function. For example, it has been found to reduce high blood pressure in some animal studies ( La yerba del manso which in Spanish means, “the herb of calm or tranquil” is one of Ultimas most treasured plants. She only finds it every once in a while and when she does she is very happy and exclaims in joy,”¡Ay! she would cry when she spotted a plant or root she needed “what luck we are in today to find la yerba del manso!” (Anaya 38).The scientific name for la yerba del manso is anemopsis.
It is typically used to treat the inflammation of the gums, throat, and mucus membranes. It can also be used to treat the inflammation of arthritis. You would most likely find it living near a river in the Western United States.
You can use both the seeds and the leaves of Yerba manso. The leaves are often dried out and then used in salves, teas, oils, and baths. The seeds however taste very similar to peppercorns. It can also be used as a remedy for colds, toothaches, sinus infections, and upset stomachs. Another herb Ultima uses very often is oregano, “We wandered on and found some orégano, and we gathered plenty because this was not only a cure for coughs and fever but a spice my mother used for beans and meat” (Anaya 40). Oregano is typically that of as a spice used for cooking and is in the same family as mint. When you eat oregano in your meals you are already boosting your immune system.
It can also provide protection against harmful bacteria on your skin. Since it also so packed full of fiber it helps aid your digestion system. It also improves your heart health because it is full of Omega-three fatty acids. There are also so many vitamins and minerals that help detoxify your body.
Now realizing all the benefits of these two plants, it easier to realize why Ultima used these plants to help cure individuals. Today there are many herbal remedies people keep in their homes to help rid of colds and other common sicknesses. One of the most herbal remedies is echinacea. Echinacea improves the body’s natural immunity against infections. Scientists also think that this remedy can either help prevent colds and/or help treat the cold while you have it. Ginkgo is another remedy linked with garlic and ginger that is most used to treat circulatory diseases and to enhance memory. It can also be helpful in treating dementia. Kava kava is a remedy that helps elevate mood and produces a state of relaxation.
It can also help in ridding anxiety, insomnia, and nervous disorders. Valerian is a remedy that also helps your mood. People most commonly use it to help aid sleep problems. One of the last herbal remedies that is very common is St.
John’s wort. St. John’s wort is used by most people as an antidepressant. Curanderas are healers who use herbs and certain plants to treat illness and give wisdom. Many people are said to be self-proclaimed curanderas. These people different plants and herbs to help cure people.
Garlic is one of the most common items they use and it is usually mixed with another item to help enhance its power. It is also used with olive oil for burns, clove ear for earaches, in brandy for asthma, with brown sugar for coughs, and honey for dandruff. Onions which are closely related to garlic are used to treat anemia bronchial complaints and asthma. Onions are also cooked in oil to prevent scarlet fever and diphtheria, and in tea for coughs and sore throats.
The leaves from an orange can be used as tea for digestion and insomnia, while its flowers and peel can help relieve stress and insomnia. Also, tea from the bark of a bitter orange can be used to improve digestion. Aloe Vera, a member of the lily family (onion and garlic) was used as medicine as early as 333 B.C. Some external uses for Aloe Vera are burns, cuts, rashes, acne, and wrinkles.
Also, it can help arthritis, rheumatism, stomach disorders, and constipation. Folk belief is that aloe vera brings positive vibrations and good luck. Another herb typically used for its healing powers is Cat’s Claw or Una de Gato.
This herb from Peru’s rainforest is said to be a powerful multifunctional medicinal plant. Cat’s claw carries many Oxindole Alkaloids which triggers the immune system. Also, research shows that Cat’s Claw has antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor properties. Chaya is a plant used by the Mayans since the Spaniards arrived in 1519. Chaya exceeds spinach and alfalfa in protein, carbohydrates, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and vitamins C, A, B-1, and B-2. Scientists are currently studying its antidiabetic potential.