Tag Archives: Tropical Flowers
Ixcanan aka Polly Red Head : Medicinal Jungle Plant
Poly Red Head
RUBIACEAE – Hamelia patens
Common names: Red Head (E), Sanalo-todo (S), Ix-canan, Sac-te-much, Klaush-pim (M)
The Maya named this plant after the Goddess of the Forest and Healing, Ix-canan, likely due to the abundant anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties used in treating a large variety of skin ailments. Everything from sores, ulcers, fungus, rashes, burns, insect bites, burns, and bee stings can be treated effectively with this natural plant remedy.
Treatment for most skin rashes and fungus use 3 ingredients: common table salt, lime juice and young, mashed Poly Red Head leaves.
First the problem skin is scrubbed with a mixture of whole leaves, lime juice, and salt for 2-3 minutes. Then the freshly picked Poly Red Head leaves are smashed and rubbed into the newly scrubbed skin and left to dry. The procedure is repeated 2 or 3 times a day and within a day or two, the skin problem is usually cured.
Don’t be alarmed if your skin becomes temporarily darkened as some people’s skin changes color when in contact with lime juice.
Lower Dover’s watchman and resident bush healer Dan Rivera would say, “a little salt and lime and everything is fine.” You might have to ask him to say it 3 times though because his creole is a little tough to understand ;)
Ixcanan (Polly Red Head) is a favorite flower for the many hummingbirds that call Lower Dover Jungle Lodge home. The plant grows everywhere there is sun, almost like a weed. Great news for those with sensitive skin and a camera!
Finally, if you are trying to be a Maya MacGyver, it is apparently possible to make household “iodine” from the stems of the Ixcanan plant. According to Rainforest Remedies by Dr. Rosita Arvigo, three 25 cm long stems are boiled in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes; a rusty nail is then added for 15 minutes; this mixture is then strained and bottled.
Who would have thought?!? We did not know the Mayans had nails! This could help to explain their awesome construction abilities seen throughout Belize and in Lower Dover’s own backyard!
Friday Flower Photos: “Spring” in Belize
The dry season is officially on at Lower Dover Jungle Lodge in Belize. It is a little strange to see all of the flowers in Belize blooming as the leaves are dropping due to lack of rain. Lower Dover has a deciduous rainforest on the property, not the evergreen version found near the equator. This means most of the leaves fall in the spring when the there is no rain so the trees have enough energy to seed.
Growing up in the States, spring time meant green and growth, where as Belize has a lengthy dry season during the same months. It’s just hot and dry in Belize until the hurricane season starts in June. So if you visit Lower Dover in the next 2 months don’t be shocked to see lots of brown leaves on the ground. Luckily there are many bright flowers blooming to offset the lack of forest.