People in our city have at hand various plants and herbs. Many of them have a double function. They are used for making food but they also are used to cure various illnesses. For example, mint (hierba buena) is used to please us at the side of a chicharrón, deep fried pork. It forms part of an enchanting salad including it and onion. It is also used, though, to calm stomach colics.
Hierba buena is very well known. Many people recognize it. Because of its distinctive mint taste and its curative power most everyone has it in their gardens.
There is another plant that has the same curative power as hierba buena. It is also used in many foods. We are talking about oregano.
This plant has attractive lgreen branches and leaves as well as a strong and deep scent. Just like hierba buena, it is also found in many peoples gardens so that it can be used whenever needed.
In Cusco people use oregano mostly for soups and broths. It is used in either its dry form or as a fresh herb to give food that special finishing touch. When fresh it is minced into small squares and sprinkled on the plate.
When people make up a classic noodle soup they add just a little oregano when they serve up the dish so that its intense flavor can disperse throughout it. In the same way they use it for what we call the chuño lunch as well as all other kinds of broths. It is always sprinkled onto the dish.
Oregano is also used to cure strong stomach concerns. People place the fresh herb in a cup and let it rest for a few minutes in hot water. Once the oregano has let loose its color it is ready to be drunk and will calm stomach issues. When people suffer from stomach problems and do not have any water nearby they will chew a little dried oregano and, like the tea, it will calm them.
If oregano is not found in your garden, you can easily obtain it in our markets. It is sold by the mound along with other plants and herbs for 0.50/S.