Herbs have traditionally been used for medicinal purposes; from minor to serious illnesses. Some of them are easy to grow and can be found in your own backyard. So if your garden has rosemary, mint or other plants, you might have a trove of natural medicine. Currently at the House of Culture, there is collection of herbs on display and a nutritionist on hand to walk you through the wonders of the herbs. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The use of herbs in Belize is a tradition slowly dying, but some still rely on the plants, leaves, barks and roots of the Belizean soil for healing. For this reason, NICH has partnered with Natural Health Tech to stage an exhibition of Belizeans herbs:

Shari Williams

Shari Williams, Communications Officer, NICH

“Herbs have been used by Belizeans for many years as a natural way for medicinal cooking and various spiritual purposes. We felt that it was wonderful and so we decided to team up with Natural Health Tech. Miss Azueta along with her son and the rest of her team have over fifty years experience in cultivating and harvesting herbs.”

Manuela Azueta, Herbalist

“This is very interesting for Belizeans. Here the people come from outside and it give more value in this and the Belizeans no give much appreciate this.”

Shari Williams

“Over the years the uses of herbs have slowly been dwindling in Belize and so we felt that information is power and to get the young people in and to see the herbs and to get to actually hear what they could be used for is actually powerful.”

Herbalist George Azueta says that apart from medicinal, herbs serve other purposes:

George Azueta, Herbalist

George Azueta

“This plays a very important part in cultural heritage. This is really embedded into our culture and all the different ethnic groups have their own traditional herbs that they will use for certain purposes. For example, in the Creole culture; [there is] the bizzy. And you already know what bizzy looks like or at least what Bizzy is for. Rosemary is very good for the brains, but it is a very good herb to marinate your meats—it gives that extra taste. Again something that you really don’t hear a lot here in Belize is the zasparella (Sarsaparilla). Zasparella is very good to season meats, to marinate meats [and] to put in soups.”

Seasoned herbalist, Manuela Azueta says that several of the plants you might have in your backyards can be used for the treatment of minor ailments:

Manuela Azueta

Manuela Azueta

“But yuh see, the mint if you got pain ina your ears in the night, you get up and you warm it ina di stove and put in the ear, the pain gone. If you have the pain in the stomach—vomiting for your children—take lee bit and boil it and drink it.”

Andrea Polanco

“For something like the common cough and cold which is something that we see year around in Belize and most people take the children to the doctors. What local herbal medicine can they use for that?”

Manuela Azueta

‘Well for that purpose, you boil the contribo, cedar bark, billy web if ih nuh too strong. Yuh si if you got fever, you just boil the cerosi and put one spoon of salt and you drink hot; right away you sweat the fever and it’s gone.”

George Azueta

“Now the John llama that is a very good herb. A lot of people used it because that is for hypertension.”

And for serious illnesses and diseases, there are a number of herbs to use:

Manuela Azueta

“The day the docta say you got cancer, you don’t use the chemotherapy for the cancer, use the old herbs—ih noh have too much chemicals ina yo system. You have to use the golden seed and the talla walla and the cat claw.”

George Azueta

“The rainforest miracle is especially for people that have diabetes.”

Attesting to the benefits of the herbs is trainer and nutritionist, Angela Sanchez:

Angela Sanchez

Angela Sanchez, Personal Physical Trainer & Nutritionist

“One of the things that I love about natural health tech herbs is the fact that it is grown organically—there is no pesticides on it, it is pure and like you said, there are very, very few side effects because it is so pure and natural. It does not have the chemical preparations as in the chemical drugs. We use the rosemary: it’s very good for the hair, very good for the skin, very good for the eyes as well. We have a herb that is also good for losing the weight.”

The exhibition features over thirty different species of packaged herbs, plants and documentations on the value herbal practices. Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

The exhibition entitled, “A Heritage Herbal Display- A Natural Approach to Life” runs until July sixth.

Channel 5