Bush Remedies


You know how nature always provides the antidote right next to the problem plant – nettles and dock leaves for instance. Well here in Belize there is a tree with poison sap appropriately called the Poisonwood Tree. The sap reminds me of napalm because it eats into the skin causing irritating and painful sores. Some people are very susceptible to it. And right next door is the cure in the sap of the Gumbolimbo Tree. A slice is cut from the bark of the Gumblimbo and the wet sap on its inner side rubbed over the sores from the Poisonwood. It takes a few days to clear the problem but it does work.

Insect bites

Mosquitoes and yellow Doctor Flies abound here during the hot wet season. Their bites are particularly irritating and can keep one awake for nights – unless you know the remedy. Would you believe that I got the remedy from and episode of NCIS New York? Tim had an irritating rash from poison ivy and Gibbs told him to spread a paste made of baking power/soda and vinegar over it. I thought I would try it on insect bites and its works like a dream – literally. Now I can sleep at nights.


Our house is regularly invaded by swarms of house cleaning ants. They do a good job carrying off the eggs and grubs of insect pests of all kinds but have a nasty bite and are not welcome when guests have arrived. We avoid using poisons unless absolutely necessary and particularly not in the house, so our control options are limited. At least they were until a lady from Guatemala told us that they would go immediately if we made the mark of a cross near them with the point of a machete without leaving a visible mark. We were naturally dubious but made Xs near the windows and doors and they did indeed vanish in spectacular fashion. We have found that lime spread along foraging trails is effective for controlling leaf-cutting ants and, in Africa, we planted penny royal to keep red root-eating ants at bay and tobacco dust for slugs and snails.


The remedy for all forms of ignorance, whether it is destruction of nature or intolerance of others, is spiritual. Ignorance arises in us when we forget that we are the limitless soul and an integral part of everything and everybody. But it takes only a little observation and a drop of common sense to realise that whenever we harm nature or other human beings we inevitably harm ourselves. All the poisons being used on agricultural lands, for instance, are polluting our soil, water and air resources. It is any wonder so many people are suffering from asthma and cancers these days? Have all the wars fought to bring peace to the world ever produced peace? Yet millions die yearly from agricultural poisons in the name of food production and securing peace on earth.

Choose your own way — Select only the best

— H.A.E.

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