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Teas from Fresh Herbs Cure Ills in Cusco

Herbal Drink in Wanchaq Market
Herbal Drink in Wanchaq Market

Besides leaving us wonderful architecture of finely carved stone, our ancestors also left us many medicinal plants and herbs. It used to be that people could only heal the ills of life with these herbs. Everyone trusted and used natural medicine at the time.

Today the people of our city continue to rely on natural medicine. People believed that plants and herbs had great curative power. That is why many people grow one or two in the gardens of their homes.

Medicinal Roots
Medicinal Roots

Within the markets are found caseras, vendors, who sell fresh herb teas from medicinal plants. The caseras are always dressed with the traditional aprons. They also have a table where they put the buckets of different teas and a pair of chairs so that clients can enjoy the herb teas right there.

The caseras rely on different herbs to get a single drink. The most well known herbs are chili chili, horse tail (cola de caballo), durasnillo, valerian (valeriana), huacacalloq, and others. These herbs are mixed together and the result is a very concentrated, fresh beverage. It has a pure flavor and is a light brown in color. It is served in medium sized glasses. Once you finish your tea, the casera will give you a second serving. The teas run 1/S for each glass.

Menu List in the Medicinal Stand
Menu List in the Medicinal Stand

I wanted to know a little more and asked one casera who sells in the Wanchaq market how she makes her tea. She politely responded “to make this herb tea you need to boil barley along with chili chili. Then wash all the herbs we mentioned and you add them to the water in which we boiled the barley and chili chili so that they will steep. From them you will get a delicious, cooling tea.”

She also told me that one can get all these herbs in the Cascaparo market which is one of the largest markets in the city. “In that market they will see you all of these herbs carefully selected.”

All of these herbs are diuretic and purify your blood. They are also anti-inflammatories and help with infections, your kidneys, and also alleviate internal heat.

Valeriana Herb
Valeriana Herb

The vendors who sell these herb teas place on top of their buckets the herbs they used in making their teas. They do this so that people will be able to see and know all that they put into the specific tea.

 

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