First aid kit of plants, living medicine

What can I take if my stomach hurts? What if I have a migraine? How do I prepare it? How many teaspoons in how much water? A thousand questions, a thousand answers in this very complete book to learn how to put together a first aid kit of yuyitos saviores. “Nature still keeps an immensity of secrets, but some of it has already been revealed to us. Among them, the secret of the healing power of plants”, say, in this note, Isabel Serdiuk, agricultural engineerand his daughter, Marina Córdoba, master’s degree in mental health.

By Soledad Sgarella for La tinta

Tule Elizondo’s illustration for the front and back covers of the book says it all: a kitchen that could be from any of our houses, a table, a kettle, a library and plants, many plants. They are seen outside in a patio, among the clay pots in the cupboard, hanging from the windows, next to the thermos and the mate.

“Sometimes we have aches and pains that we want to mitigate and it is our friends who hold the key”they say, in the introduction of First aid kit of plants, living medicineits authors. Isabel Serdiuk She is an agronomist engineer from the UNC, specialist in medicinal and aromatic natives. A retired teacher and neighborhood activist, she dedicated her entire life to talking and learning from -and with- plants, and to teaching, both at the university and in different territorial spaces. her daughter, Marina Cordoba, She is a social communicator and a Master’s in Mental Health (also from UNC), an expert in change management processes, facilitation of collaborative conversation processes, and an educator. With a team that they thank and the advice of Dr. Zuriñe Carignano Parra, a doctor and phytotherapist, a few months ago, they launched this book that is a practical and complete guide, whose main objective is that whoever reads it finds “simple answers -and germinated in the heart of nature- to an ailment. I mean, to that what. To then advance in learning how, when and how much. We summarize the most common ailments, how to treat them and how to have your first-aid kit alive in your patio, balcony or garden”.

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(Image: The ink)

in dialogue with The ink, Isabel says that, years ago, she wanted to materialize the idea and capture everything she learned from science and from work in the territory, and, with retirement and the pandemic, that time also came. “My daughter helped me structure and gave the writing a method, in addition to contributing the part of the story, the prose. On the other hand, we were telling friends and acquaintances about the idea, and they all encouraged us to continue, so we are very happy to have materialized it and, above all, with ecoval, which is the best publishing house we have, I would tell you, in Argentina… So a luxury!”, he says enthusiastically.

Why is it thought in relation to system affections?

“Literature related to plants is usually ordered according to species,” they explain from the team and add: “In this case, we wanted the book to have a practical and accessible approach, for consultation. For this reason, we thought it was a good idea to take the manuals from medical areas as a model. These follow a different logic: they are ordered by systems and their corresponding diseases. Thus, looking for the organ where the problem is, you access the possible treatments for your condition”.

In addition, the publication has a strongly didactic component: “We wanted to do something to get people hooked: cut it with phrases, reflections and games; It seemed like a good option. On the other hand, we are teachers and we carry this teaching thing with us. And what better than playing!” explains Isabel.

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(Image: The ink)

the five basics

Although, in the book, the vast majority are native plants from the central region of Argentina, the specialists say that they decided to include some other non-native species that are widely used and that have been part of our landscapes for years: such as linden, rosemary or chamomile, among others. “We look for plants that, as far as possible, are within our reach, are easy to get and, even better, we can grow and have at home. We ‘squeeze them to the maximum’ and they will find that, if we use them differently (or any part in particular: their stem, their leaf, their flower), they serve for different ailments”, they add.

We asked the authors to select the five plants that cannot be missing if we want to start with our first-aid kit and these are the ones chosen:

the pepperine

“It is the symbol of Córdoba and cures many things.” Originally from the temperate zones of South America, from Colombia and Venezuela to Argentina. Here, from San Luis to Jujuy. In Córdoba, we find it under the protection of a tree or on the southern slopes of the mountains; prefers light, slightly alkaline soils.

Tips to recognize it: small branched shrub, generally does not exceed a meter in height, very aromatic, with whitish flowers.

How to grow it: It is propagated by seed, semi-woody and herbaceous cuttings. Also by layering.

Comments/Curiosities: It has a mild anaphrodisiac action, that is, it decreases sexual urges.

For osteoarthritis, infusion of the aerial part. Between 15 and 20 g per liter.

For diarrhea, infusion of 10 g of leaves and tender stems per liter.

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“In addition to feeding us exquisite salads, it is an ally of our health.”

In Argentina, it is in almost the entire country. In Córdoba, too, practically throughout the province, always associated with water. Not so much in large rivers, but in small streams.

Tips to recognize it: hperennial aquatic herb with hollow stems up to 60 cm and white flowers.

How to grow it: it only propagates, grows and multiplies if there is moving and clean water. Comments/Curiosities: it is one of the best vegetable sources of vitamin A, C, B and mineral salts.

Comments/Curiosities: yesIts seeds are used as a condiment with a flavor similar to mustard.

For diabetes, like fresh salad.

For arthritis, eat fresh or apply the fresh plant as a poultice on the painful area.

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“It is a humble ‘yuyito’ that is everywhere and very useful for various ailments.” Originally from Europe, Asia and North Africa, and spread throughout the world. In Argentina, we find it in almost the entire country. In Córdoba, it is easy to find it in places with modified and slightly humid soils.

Tips to recognize it: Annual or perennial plant, low in height, leaves arranged in a rosette. In the middle of the rose, the floral scapes appear and, in each one, a yellowish-green spike.

How to grow it: it is propagated by seeds. Young seedlings resist transplanting.

Comments/Curiosities: its leaves can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in stews or soups. Do not consume people with hypotension or pregnant women.

For the eyes, infusion with leaves, apply droplets as eye drops.

As a fever reducer, infusion of 20 grams per liter of its leaves.

For high cholesterol, infusion of 40 grams per liter. Take for several days.

For insect bites, make a poultice with its leaves.

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The incayuyo

“It is from the most arid areas and, nevertheless, it gives us its perfume and heals us”. It grows in tropical and temperate regions of America and Africa. In our country, it is found wild in semi-arid areas. In Córdoba, to the west of the mountains and in the northwest.

Tips to recognize it: Aromatic, subwoody shrub with white or pink flowers.

How to grow it: it is propagated by herbaceous and semi-woody cuttings, and also by seeds.

Comments/Curiosities: It grows very well in dry and stony land, recommended for parks and gardens, its pleasant appearance and aroma in the environment. Not recommended in children, pregnant people or people with neurological diseases.

For heartburn, it is recommended, especially if it is due to disorders of nervous origin, and take an infusion of 25 grams per liter.

For stomach pain, infusion of leaves and tender stems.

For amenorrhea, infusion of the aerial part with or without flowers. Up to four cups a day.

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“That, in addition to fertilizing the land, helps us many times.” Introduced from Europe and naturalized throughout the world, in Argentina, it is practically throughout the country. Close to human presence, it prefers fertile soils.

Tips to recognize it: annual or perennial plant, the entire aerial part is covered with stinging hairs. It grows, above all, in autumn-winter.

how to grow it: It is propagated by seeds.

Comments/Curiosities: it can be eaten raw, rubbing the twigs a little to remove stinging hairs, also in soups and stews. Pieces of meat, fruit or vegetables can be wrapped with its fresh leaves to preserve them, even if for a short time. It is also used to make beers and is used as fertilizer, taking advantage of its high chlorophyll content.

Caveat: It should not be consumed by people with heart, kidney or gastritis problems, nor by pregnant women.

For chilblains, wash with nettle decoction in brine.

For arterial hypertension, infusion of the aerial part of the whole plant, 20 grams per liter.

For hemorrhoids, sitz baths with a well concentrated decoction, between 10-30 grams per liter.

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For questions, suggestions and to purchase the book: [email protected]

*By Soledad Sgarella for La tinta / Cover image: The ink.

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