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Items and Their Uses

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Metaphysical Beliefs

Why Use a Botanica?

Understanding Your Patient



This is a very brief list of some herbs that may be found in a botanica and used by your Latino patients.  These are the more “unusual” herbs and their uses should be known when considering any possible side effects with prescribed medications. For more information on safety concerns when taking these herbs, visit Herbs of Mexico.

pic of several herbs in pots  

Acacia (Aromo) - Used for digestive problems, increases appetite, treats diarrhea, and good astringent.  May be used when empacho (blockage) is suspected.

Aloe (Agave) - Aloe Vera. Aloe is good for sunburns relieving pain and inflammation. Aloe has good cicatrization effects in burns and minor wounds. It is used to control constipation problems, digestive irritation, obesity problems and a way to control and cure stomach ulcers.

Amaranth (Ataco) - Good source of Calcium, Phosphorous, and Iron.  They are high in protein, mucilage, and natural sugars.  It has astringent properties, used as a diuretic, to stop menstrual disorders and to control sugar levels.

Avocado (Aguacate) - Lowers sugar levels in the blood.  The leaves help alleviate menstrual pain, asthma, and bronchitis.  The avocado also cures dysentery.

Barley (Cebada) - Alleviates high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity.  (Diabetes is common in Latinos and this herb is commonly found in many stores, so the use of this herb may be common).

Belladonna- Lessens irritability and pain.  It is used as a lotion, plaster or liniment in cases of neuralgia, gout, rheumatism, and sciatica.

Cactus (Nopal) - Good source of fiber.  Treats digestive disorders, control cholesterol, high blood pressure, colon cleanse, and obesity.

Cinnamon (Canela) - Improves glucose and lipid levels for people with Type II diabetes.  May reduce blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides for people not taking insulin.  Also used for nausea.

Damiana (Aguita de damiana) - Used as an aphrodisiac and mood elevator.  It regulates blood circulation and hormone production.  Useful for mild depression and menstrual problems.

Echinacea (Equinacia) - Boosts immune system to help in recovery of colds and flus.

Horse Tail (Cola de Caballo) - Helps in controlling arthritic and rheumatic problems.  It is a diuretic, cleanses the urinary system, and heals bones and joints.

Hyssop (Hisopo) - Helps coughs, shortness of breath, and wheezing.

Lemon Grass (Canita santa) - Helps cure colds, stomach upsets, and lowers fever.

Psyllium- Helps diabetics blood sugar level and controls cholesterol.

Stevia (Hierba de la mula) - A natural sugar substitute with no calories.  Stimulates the release of insulin and regulates glucose.  Reduces high blood pressure.  (May be used by patients with Type II Diabetes).

Zapote (Mamey) - Used for insomnia, hypertension, and malaria.  Also helps control diabetes.


Accessibility | Privacy | ASU Disclaimer This site was created by Jessica Blair in fulfillment of requirements for the course CSS 335: Latino Health Issues taught by Dr. Szkupinski Quiroga at Arizona State University, Spring 2007.