October 17, 2018
San Ignacio, Belize
With the ever rising cost of pharmaceuticals, many of us have turned to the power of herbs to mend, improve, ease, soothe and even cure what ails us. Maybe I should say “turned back” to the power of herbs. Think about it. Healing with herbs has been around for a long, long time. When our pioneer ancestors tended to earaches, bumps, bruises, upset stomachs and other illnesses, they didn’t have corner drugstores. Instead they relied on common sense and gardens, as well as, pantries well-stocked with herbal remedies.
Roughly 25% of the world’s medicines are derived from exotic plants that are found right here in Belize. Here, it’s referred to as “bush medicine” and many of the remedies have Mayan origin. In fact, many native Belizeans prefer the use of various local plant leaves, seeds, roots and flowers before even considering a trip to a doctor or hospital.
The most impressive thing about these natural cures is that often a trek through the jungle is not necessary. Many grow along the roadside, in vacant lots and in people’s yards. You just have to know where to look and what to look for. Or you can find an expert herbal medicine woman (or man) to guide you through where to find each plant and even help you prepare these herbal cure-alls..
We found such a paragon when we met Kim Ringland.
Daughter of a prominent health official in Nevada, Kim has had a passion for plants and their medicinal uses all of her life. Her Danish grandmother passed down many natural remedies and instilled in her the quest for the “simple life.” Way before the Pioneer Woman came on the scene, Kim and her husband Craig, lived “off the grid” in northern Idaho raising their two daughters. I questioned Kim about just how far “off” that grid they lived, and she told me that, by choice, they had no electricity, municipal water, etc. for a little over ten years. Wow!!! This woman truly understands simple living in its purest form.
After earning her Master Herbalist certification, Kim and Craig moved to Belize in 2005 and she started Kimmer’s Kreations, a source for natural herbs and oils for health and beauty. They own a farm, nestled in the jungle outside of San Ignacio, that is a paradise for everything green, as well as, home to seven dogs and several horses. When John and I visited, we felt like we’d entered the Garden of Eden sans the snakes.
Kim recommended several herbs that would help me with my psoriatic arthritis, as well as, help both of us look and feel better. Here’s the top three that we think would benefit everyone.
We found out about moringa (aka moringa oleifera) a few years back. Okay, we’re evidently slow, because this wonder plant has been helping folks stay healthy for thousands of years. Moringa is one of the most nutrient-rich plants in the world and the benefits are almost too many to count. Moringa trees, also known as widow’s trees, drumstick trees, clarifier trees, mother’s best friend and miracle trees are native to Africa and Asia, but now thrive and are cultivated in tropical climates around the world.
Here are a few reasons we load up on moringa daily:
It also has one of the highest antioxidant contents of any food, which makes it a great way to repair and prevent cell damage from aging.
Pretty incredible stuff, huh? We eat it in capsules, as well as, sprinkle it on salads and in sauces.
Ginger is a flowering plant whose root is used as a spice or for folk medicine. Frankly I’ve been a fan of the spice function (ginger ale, gingerbread, my sister-in-law Ginger, etc.) rather than the medicinal uses. I never knew how beneficial the curative side of this plant can be. Kim recommended that we load up on ginger as part of our daily supplement program. Here’s a few of the awesome benefits of a diet rich in ginger:
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I even heard of turmeric, or its health benefits. Remember, I’m not very talented in the kitchen (except for pies and cupcakes). My idea of seasoning foods, that aren’t sweet, have mainly consisted of adding salt, pepper and garlic powder. I’ve been spice deficient for most of my life. My bad!
Turmeric (aka curcumin, the health-related ingredient in turmeric) has been used in Indian cuisine for centuries and many scientists tout it to be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence. Here are a few of the benefits of this astounding yellow substance:
Turmeric to the rescue. Curcumin/turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory. In fact, it’s so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of many anti-inflammatory drugs, without the side effects.
Add a little pepper…
If you’ve done any research about this precious spice, you may have seen the recommendation that black pepper be added to any dosage of curcumin or turmeric. Black pepper contains piperine, which has been shown to dramatically increase (up to 2000%) the absorption and effects of turmeric. Without the pepper boost, most of the curcumin just passes through your digestive tract.
Moringa, ginger and turmeric are all “superfoods” that are actually worthy of the term. And since we want to feel and look “super” good, we both take all three supplements daily. All three are an integral part of the Barefoot Diary Travel Kit!
Want to Know More???
Kim teaches classes, conducts jungle medicinal walks and gives private consultations. Her herbal remedies and skin products are also for sale every Friday at the San Ignacio farmer’s market or at Hode’s Place Restaurant in San Ignacio.
She also has a series of videos available on YouTube:
DIY Anti-fungal for Skin
Herbs on the Mountain
Landscaping with Medicinal Herbs
Intro to Ceiba Farm
How to contact Kim: