Nettle seedlings sprouting new life. This is one of my favorite plants for more reasons than I could name here. Ortiga is a very nourishing and nurturing plant with a fierce teacher spirit. In the Amazon, we have a giant species that is used therapeutically as urtication for healing musculoskeletal issues and old injuries. A trained healer using prayer will sting the patient's skin to stimulate blood flow and allow the nettle to inject its medicine into the affected area.
This past summer I spent hours in Margi Flint's nettle patch in Marblehead, MA. I chose not to wear any protective gear, as my intention was to deepen my studies with nettle and receive a good teaching. I was knee deep in there, pruning back the plants and harvesting the seeds. By the end of the day, I totally received what I asked for. For me, the best treatment for that unbearable sting was Reiki.
I was born in Venezuela. So were my parents & all of my abuelxs. My blood runs from the lake of Maracaibo to the Andes mountains all the way through to the Caribbean coast. I am proud to carry this lineage & honor where I come from.
Many towns in my country are named after our ancestral plants. This flower is cumaná (Turnera ulmifolia), a close relative of the popular herb damiana. Cumaná is also the capital of the state of Sucre in Venezuela--where my father currently resides--and its namesake is this humble flower.
This shrub is commonly planted in FL as an ornamental or in butterfly gardens because it blooms pretty much year round. However, I feel like here it is not well known for its medicinal actions, which are uniquely different from damiana.
The plant is a soothing demulcent and anti-inflammatory. It has been traditionally used in the tropics for healing GI mucosa and preventing ulcers. This wisdom has now been confirmed by a study, where they tested the effects of the infusion of cumaná on mice.
In its native habitat it is also used as a cure-all for colds & flu and skin conditions. Recent laboratory evidence suggests that an extract of the plant may enhance the effects of antibiotics in the treatment of antibiotic resistant MRSA.
For me this is the future of medicine. A time when botanicals are used in combination with pharmaceuticals and medical treatments to increase their efficacy & help reduce adverse effects. Remembering our traditional medicine as science and medical technologies continue to expand and grow.