Plantas Medicinales Usadas en el Norte de Guanajuato/ Medicinal Plants Used in Northern Guanajuato
By Rosita Arvigo, D.N.
($14.95 + $4.95 shipping)
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Most of these plants are also native to the Southwest U.S. and can be cultivated, in gardens and in pots, in climates that are not as dry and temperate.
The oldest book known on the subject of healing with medicinal plants in North America is the Badianus Manuscript produced in 1552, the work of two young Aztecs, carefully hand-written in Latin and illustrated in color. Since then, traditional Mexican healers, especially women, have kept the indigenous knowledge alive through oral transmission and practice within their families and communities.
Medicinal Plants used in Northern Guanajuato is a beautifully illustrated bilingual Spanish and English book that documents some of the traditional herbal remedies still used in the central region of Mexico. Dr. Rosita Arvigo, author of the book, is a part-time resident of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato and author of five other books on food and medicinal plants of the Maya in Belize, where she lives half the year.
During the summer of 2011, Dr. Arvigo initiated her research by contacting the Center for Agricultural Development (CEDESA) in Dolores Hidalgo, a nonprofit grass-roots organization that has worked in rural communities of northern Guanajuato for nearly 50 years. The health outreach workers of CEDESA introduced her to local healers, ranging in age from 38 to 94 years old, in the municipalities of San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo, and San Diego de la Unión.
The healers brought plants that they use for healing to the interview with Dr. Arvigo. Each plant was photographed and preserved, and the collection donated to the Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden in San Miguel de Allende.
In total, Dr. Arvigo collected 107 plants, and selected forty-eight species that grow wild and/or in gardens in the region. In addition to the plants brought by the healers, the book includes common plants known and used by the author that can be cultivated in Guanajuato - and places with a similar temperate, dry climate characteristic of an extensive area that includes the southwestern states of the United States, the high central plains of all of Mexico - or indoors in pots.
The text of the book includes easy-to-prepare home remedies using aloe vera, mesquite, corn, basil and thyme, just to name a few, with descriptions of dosage, preparation and administration. The plants can be purchased from herbalists in Mexican markets, found growing in the streets or in the countryside, and in pots and courtyards throughout the region.
The finely rendered pen-and-ink drawings by Alifie Rojas are works of art that make the book not only useful and interesting but also a collector's keepsake. The artist, with her background training in biology, specializes in scientific illustration.
The Organic Consumer's Association of America (OCA) shepherded the book through the printing process in the U.S., and with its Mexican project, called Vía Orgánica, are helping in the distribution of the book. The generous financial support of the Gildea Family Foundation made this project possible. Dr. Arvigo has donated the proceeds of this book to the alternative health project of CEDESA.