It is proven: plants such as the guarumbo tree or nopal reduce the blood sugar levels of diabetic patients; the tejocote can be used to combat bronchial problems; the mullein serves to counteract the cough; bougainvillea, thyme and mint do the same with gastric problems, while guava and epazote can be used to deworm.
In Mexico there are more than 4 thousand species of medicinal flora, which, on a global scale, places it as one of the nations with the greatest floral and herbal richness.
The Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) has the main collection of medicinal flora in the country and the most important in the world: more than 15,000 specimens from all over the country.
In Mexico, eight out of 10 people use a medicinal plant to fight diseases. It is a deeply rooted tradition that comes from afar, but that can also put health at risk.
The teacher Abigail Aguilar Contreras, director of the IMSS Herbarium, recommends not self-prescribed medicinal plants. "Most people think that because they are natural they do not hurt, but they are medicinal, precisely because they have active ingredients, which are the ones that cure or can complicate the patient's health."
The knowledge of the effects of medicinal plants takes time. The wealth of Mexican herbalism is such that, currently, less than 15 percent of this natural diversity is used for medicinal purposes.
An example of the above is a recent study carried out by IMSS specialists, in which the medicinal properties of the tree known as guarumbo were identified in the reduction of sugar levels in patients with diabetes mellitus.
Aguilar Contreras explained that because the research takes time and some stages are slow, the corresponding to the Guarumbo is currently in the protocol phase, that is, on an experimental level.