This past weekend I had a class field trip for my favorite class here at Veritas, the Alternative Health Approaches class! My class and I went to Puerto Viejo to see where and how indigenous peoples here in Costa Rica live and use herbal remedies as medicine.
Sebastian was the name of our herbalist. He took us on this awesome hike up a mountain about four kilometers. He pointed out to us many trees and animals and where to look for all these. The first tree, Ficus Carica was a tree that naturally grows rubber. Latex gloves and other rubber products are made from this tree. I also saw some of the biggest ants of my life on our hike, Sebastian pinched one of these ants between his fingers and told us that the indigenous people will let the ants bite the skin of injured people with deep cuts as an alternative for stitches. A long the trail there were also beautifully colored poisonous frogs of bright green with blue spots and red. The second plant we came to was a Piperaceae plant, the native people use this plant to cure head aches.
Another awesome herbal remedy that we learned about was from a plant called cucumeca which is used to cure anemia (low red blood cell count). After we got to the top of the mountain Sebastian and his wife served us lunch in their house he build by hand from Cacha trees. It was so cool, a big tree house in the middle of the forest. After lunch there was a look out tower he built as well. It was about 4 stories tall and we could see the ocean and Panama from that point.
On the way back down the mountain Sebastian reviewed all the plants we learned so far, I never realized how many different kinds of plants and trees can be in one area. Most of the time while I am hiking I don’t take the time to examined every different plant. It was interesting to learn we do not have to take all these chemical medicines every time we feel sick, there are natural alternatives!
Written by Tyler Wilson, Social Media Journalist