As a kid I would accompany my Grandma Tonita outdoors, where she’d point to this “yerba” or that one and say, “Traime eso.” I would carefully pull a few leaves and flowers from the plant and reverently deliver them to her. She would tuck them into her apron. Inside, we would place the various herbs into boiling water and cook them into a tea. From tummy aches to hangovers, Grandma had a “remedio” that she could find in the garden. I grew up knowing that her remedies had as much curing power as anything, and I raised my own child with that belief.
Along the path of learning about our local herbs, I’ve noticed a few things. One is that faith plays a large part in our healing process, not only for the one receiving treatment but also for the one offering it. Another is that the herbs themselves have a spirit, and the wild ones will show up in your yard in anticipation of your need for them. A third thing I’ve learned is that it is easier to effect a successful recovery if you know the cause of the illness; it’s easier to be cured if you know what bit you.