I have always enjoyed perusing the aisles of well stocked grocery stores. I love finding ingredients I’ve never seen before and imagining their tasty possibilities. Some may think it a tad crazy, but I consider it a wonderful way to kill a couple of hours…you never know what you will come across! So, you can imagine the level of my enthusiasm when I had the opportunity to go rain forest “shopping” with Aurora Garcia-Saqui, who knew the sylvan aisles like the back of her hand. But we weren’t browsing for a delicious meal…our shopping listing was comprised of exotic healing flora like yhax leh, piper and gomo che!

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Just as I would in a grocery store where I pick up and examine an item before throwing it into my basket, Ms Aurora took her time to select the specific plants she needed to create her special Pain Away remedy. Explaining the name of each leaf she picked, as well as the healing powers it possessed, she collected a handful of leaves that would soon end up as a soothing, healing ointment.

After our rain forest shopping we gather in her open cooking area, complete with a traditional fire hearth.

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First the leaves are torn into small pieces and placed on a metate’ for grinding.

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In the meantime lanolin is added to a large pan to be melted over the fire hearth.

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The grinding process takes some time (and effort) to get the leafy mixture to the right consistency, releasing the healing powers within.

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We even try our hand at using the metate’, gaining a quick appreciation for the effort and technique (it’s all in the wrists) that it takes to maneuver the mano while grinding!

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Once the leaves are mashed to the right texture they are added to the melted lanolin.

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The pot is placed on the fire hearth and the mixture is brought to a boil.

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The hot pot of melted, Maya medicine is then removed from the fire, and then run through a strainer.

The next step is to funnel the mixture into individual bottles. They are then labeled and ready for sale!

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The end result is a smooth, soothing ointment with a slight menthol scent. We tried it on a variety of ailments, from achy arthritic hands to bug bites and burns…it worked like a charm and smelled so good! I now carry it with me at all times for quick relief to whatever mishap I happen to get into!

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About the Author: Tamara Sniffin

I’m a sucker for a fuzzy face, a feathered face, a face with fins or even one with scales! I am in love with the creatures and the flora that are synonymous with Belize and every opportunity I have to learn more about them and explore their wild habitats I am there! I’m the happiest when I’m snorkeling the reef and swimming with turtles, however my passion is not just limited to critters! Laced throughout this compact jungle gem of a country live the Kriol, Maya, Garifuna, Mestizo and Spanish people, and experiencing each culture, especially their celebrations is one of my favorite pastimes.

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