Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Market Medicine

Oh that Doris...she never ceases to amaze me. She is like my mom, or better to use big sister, down here. The spark for this post happened well over a month ago now, but she and her husband Marvin have become very important people in my life. There was a brief stretch of days when I did not feel very well. My head ached, my stomach ached and I basically ached all over--I also felt void of any and all energy, which makes 49 second graders even more of a handful! Walks to and through market are generally so therapeutic for me, but on days like those when I really just felt like being pampered I did not look forward to walking to town to shop. I of course couldn't go without food (I'm still me!!!) so I bucked up and heading to my favorite vendors. I tell you what--it turned out to be one of the best afternoons I've had since I moved here. Doris' stand was relatively slow, and she could tell something was off about me. I think I was just adjusting (slowly :) to the climate and all the changes of my new environment...particularly my changes in diet, and how much I've come to enjoy desserts. She grabbed a stool for me, and in what felt like minutes we'd chatted over an hour. We talked about her marriage, the kids and all sorts of family stuff; then we talked about my life in the States, what I used to do for work and how great my friends and family are.

We got to talking about natural medicine and I think that's when we took our relationship to a new level. She knows SO much about her produce! She pointed around the stand and started telling me the benefits of different ingredients, and even added preparation suggestions. I love the way she describes cooking because she doesn't just use hand motions, her hand motions come along with these adorable sound effects that leave me ready to run to the kitchen. We've talked about getting together to cook, but our schedules haven't worked out for it yet. I guess we have a few more months before I leave ;) But while I was there she showed me a few powders I'd never noticed before. Linaza molida is said to be good for issues with the digestive organs, helps expel any toxic bacteria and I'm pretty sure I read that it helps regulate alkaline levels. No one wants an acidic cuerpo! Weeks later I've come to discover linaza molida is milled flaxseed. It really seemed to help. I'd mix a few spoonfuls with some water each morning and night, and while it didn't taste awesome it wasn't
too offensive. Look it up! As a vane aside, linaza entera (whole seeds, not milled) soaked in water makes a good hair product to run through the tresses before you leave for the day. I of course still have crazy mind of its own hair, but sometimes I think it's a little shinier than it used to be :with was also introduced to and purchased ground alpiste (canary seed) which has done wonders. I feel a little ashamed because I've sort of shirked off on my daily intake, but I know I need to get back at it. Alpiste helps with all sorts of things, but the thing that piqued the most interest was its anti-inflammatory abilities. I'm not sure I can put into type how exciting it was to from-the-earth health talk for a while. Not only are the powders really beneficial, they're also cheap! And alpiste mixed with a little water doubles as a wonderful face mask. My blackheads thank you!

I wish I could capture the genuine care and amistad Doris shares with me. Just about every time I stop into their stand she has something to show me--it actually has me wanting to start a new list of new discoveries of nature's wonders. That day in particular she showed me a few herbs, and suggested I boil them into teas. I didn't recognize them at first, but she gave me some romero (rosemary) and said it was good for dolores. She gave me a few baggies of anise as well and said it would help my tummy. As we were chatting she offered me some coffee, and it was such a treat to sit and sip a small cup of coffee and hold such an interesting conversation all in Spanish. I came to her stand feeling worn down and a little needy for the comforts of home, but I left with a sense of tranquility and comfort. Early the following week I had a similar experience with Marvin--well, minus most of the healing with food stuff, but lots of talk of life and family. Once again an hour passed before I blinked, and I'm so grateful for the moments of bonding time with my new friends. I've come to appreciate them as family, and love the sense of comfort I feel when I'm around them.

Moral of my story? Keep your ears open and your conversation pure and true. I could have brushed off how I was feeling to Doris and rushed back home. I also could have avoided the market altogether and eaten something like rice, cookies and/or an orange or two I picked in the yard. I walked into market with such a strange sense about me, but I walked home that day filled with gratitude for so many things.

I've since come to learn that manzanilla (chamomile) is good for digestion, and the dried flowers make a tasty nighttime tea. Doris really does spoil me, because I've walked home with a few regalitos de manzanilla. She swears oregano boiled into a tea is great for things like cramps and bloating, but I haven't taken her up on any of that yet. I find it so interesting to learn these hidden abilities of everyday herbs, and of course I'm eager to learn more!

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