Momentom has been in Punta Mona on and off for about 4 months now, with 2 residencies back to back and another 3 planned out for 2021-2022. The Green residency is designed to provide life skills in both relating, expression along with sustainable living. Residents from all over the world go into “intensives” for 2 weeks in 1 Green theme (sustainable living, permaculture, regenerative farming, herbalism) and 1 Arts (Sadhana Design, Architect your Life, Aerials, Slackline or Dance).
We love it here, and we couldn’t have done it without the amazing knowledge from Punta Mona.
The Punta Mona team consists of a large mix between volunteers and what Momentom calls the Punta Mona “homies”, 12 of which live on the farm on a semi-permanent basis. These 12 homies are intrinsically motivated and needed to keep the farm and operations up and running.
One of the homies is Celia Hale. At 22 years young, Celia’s treasury of wisdom is unfathomable. She is from Durango, Colorado and has been in Punta Mona for about 1.5 years. During the Green Residency intensives, she taught residents about plants, propagation, soap making and the natural properties of the plants under our feet. She could see beyond what any of us could see. We want to share this with you.
With her incredible knowledge of plants, we ask Celia what 12 plants with mind blowing properties.
1. Noni (Indian Mulberry):
Celia: “Noni is incredible. Not only does it have anticancer properties and has been known to shrink tumors.
I met an old guy in Hawaii who was living a normal life before being diagnosed with Cancer and told me that he had 6 months to live. He then turned farmer and moved to a beach where he planned to live out his remaining time peacefully and simply. He only had access to Noni and Coconut, which became his main diet for the next 6 months and because of its anti-cancer properties his cancer was gone.” Noni grows wild and it is found predominantly on coastal areas, each fruit has many seeds and is self propagating.
“So, comfrey has the potential to cure broken bones!” It can be soothing to the skin, help with bruises, sprains, strains and tendonitis. Comfrey is either ingested or topical, but a hot compress is great as well! One of the ways I love to use it is to make it into a tea, soak a rag in it and apply it topically.
The cool thing about comfrey is its super long roots that ‘mine’ deep earth minerals. The roots push through the rocks and cracks they get down and get the super deep minerals that are present in the soil. Comfrey has the same penetrating effect to your bone and has the ability to deliver these roots and medicine to the internal system! A lot of herbs can be good to soothe the skin when applied topically but comfrey has the ability to deeply penetrate and not only sooth the dermis but also the muscles, the bones, the tendons etc…. At Punta Mona they just got a huge sack of comfrey of 100-150 plants.
3. Hombre Grande (Quassia Amara):
Celia says, “It’s a bitter and very misunderstood jungle tree. Identified with a beautiful pink flower, local to this area, this plant just grows!” It’s known for its medicinal effects which are found in its compounds especially related to the bitter substance known as Quassin. It is antiviral, anti-microbial, anti-fungal but it can be used to clean/flush your system. It is mostly used when people have parasites or amoebas.
Thing is that water poisoning does happen. At Punta Mona, we are pretty clean, but there have been instances where people struggle with some belly issues as they adapt to the new environment. Hombre Grande is a bitter tea that kills parasites/amoebas. It’s super strong and you do need to be careful when using it. Because it is anti-microbial/anti-viral it does strip the system. Not as much as an over the counter antibiotic but people do throw up when taken too much. Really strong and the number one digestive aid bitter at Punta Mona.
Turmeric is amazing. It’s anti-inflammatory, immune boosting and anti-microbial, and has cancer fighting properties to name a few. Celia tells us “I love to use it as a band-aid. It’s not common but I use it to stop blood flow, similar to yarrow. I prefer to dry the turmeric to make the powder to then use as a dry band-aid. The dry powder is great for this climate because it draws out the moisture (instead of using a bandaid which keeps the wound moist). Turmeric powder helps to start the coagulation process/healing process more quickly on top of all the other benefits that turmeric brings. It’s like putting on a Super band-aid.”
Referred to as nature’s band aid, Yarrow can be chewed on and applied to wounds to stop blood flow quickly. It improves blood circulation, aids in curing cold and fever and helps maintain healthy and scar-free skin! For women, it’s also good to ease menstrual cramps.
“Tranquillo tilo” as it’s often referred to because it makes you super tranquil and is often used to aid in sleep. Tilo tea is perfect before bed. Celia shares “I use it for anxiety, specifically, the heart centered anxiety. Herbalist Sarah Wu once asked me “where do you think your anxiety comes from? More your heart or your brain?’ For me, anxiety comes from her heart, from my deepest fears that manifest in little ways. I find that Tilo really addresses the root of my anxiety and occasional panic attacks.” She’s been taking a few drops of a Tilo tincture everyday for the last 6 months with the intention to help ease her anxiety with amazing results. “I also feel deeply that there is a strong correlation to taking herbs with intention and the results you receive. Tilo can be used for sleep but I take some very mindfully in the morning with the intention of addressing anxiety and that’s the effect I feel, not sleepy by any means. But if I take it with the intention to put me to sleep, it will. I know and feel the plant intelligence and medicine works with me and responds to what I need.”
7. Blue Lotus: Lucid Dreaming.
Celia says “It’s actually not blue or a lotus, it’s a water lily and it’s purplish. In ancient Egypt it was a sacred ceremonial flower. There’s been a lot of debate about whether it looks like a blue lotus or a purplish lily but hieroglyphs show the obvious purple lily.” The most interesting use is for lucid dreaming. It’s a very mysterious herb that’s magical and kind of alien-like. She says, “I like to think about the overall ‘vibe’ of the plant. Blue lotus is very ethereal, the name, cool bluish purple colour, airy, watery and grows in water. This then gives me insight to how the plant can be used, it is not a fiery plant and could probably be used to cool a sunburn and aid in sleep.” When you smoke it or drink it as a tea it’s a sedative that puts you into a calm dream state. Blue lotus can also be used topically for cooling. “Apparently, it can also be infused into wine and develops different qualities /properties, it can make you more social almost like a micro dose. I am actually currently harvesting this in hopes to try the wine infusion soon!”
8. Garlic Vine:
“Garlic has the same volatile oils (what you smell and what essential oils are made from). Because garlic vine smells the same as the clove, it’s safe to assume that they have similar properties- not all the same but close. At Punta Mona we use a lot of Garlic Vine because it is such an incredible medicine.” It can be used to rid oneself of intestinal worms, parasites, and to help build immunity. “I’ve actually used it to remove warts!” If you get sick with pneumonia, it’s also amazing for lungs repair. It can be used as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, and antipyretic.
9. Blue Vervain:
Speaking from personal experience, Celia shares “I used to have super cystic hormonal acne a couple years ago after coming off birth control. I was on it for 5 years, beginning at age 15 after it was prescribed to me by my doctor and my hormones and cycle was completely messed up and unaware of how to regulate. I started taking a full dropper worth of Blue Vervain tincture everyday and 3 droppers full while on my moon.” After 2 weeks of taking blue vervain daily her skin started to visibly repair itself. It’s a great one to take for overall reproductive health and hormone balancing. “I also feel that taking something daily and most importantly with intention to heal and care for myself, I am establishing a more grounding practice.”
10. Holy/Tulsi Basil:
Ok this one is amazing for acne! According to Ayurvedic remedies and Celia approved! Whenever she feels or has a pimple she takes a leaf, squishes the basil with her fingers to get the juice going and put it directly on the pimple – “it shrinks so quickly!” Celia boasts. “It’s a natural anti-spot treatment. I use this particular basil because I know it’s grown specifically for its medicinal properties. It has the same volatile oils as Italian basil or other basil but Tulsi smells more floral and it isn’t flavoured the same as Italian basil. I also make a hot compress.” How we asked her: “Make a basil tea, soak a cloth in the hot water – this helps to open your pores – and put it on your face for a while. Rinse off with cool water – helps to close pores – and that’s it!”
11. Cacao Husk: Cooling for burns and rashes!
Secret: put cacao husk in a jar of water and set it aside. Over time , depending on where you are, it could be a few days but no more than a week, the husk will become mucilaginous almost like Aloe Vera, which can be used topically for burns or rashes. If stored in the fridge it’s even more cooling. Celia shares, “Aloe is tricky to grow at Punta Mona, it likes a more dry environment, but cacao husks are abundant and usually just go in the compost so it’s perfect for us. Also cacao leaf (the red ones) can be smoked and is also edible and mucilaginous.”
Parsley can start the menstrual cycle! Super high in vitamin C. “I have used parsley as a way to navigate life around my moon. In cases like travelling, I drank a parsley tea to get things going a few days early to line up with travel plans.”
ABOUT CELINE HALE:
To get in touch with her: firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Durango, Colorado
Time at Punta Mona: 1.5 years
How long working with Plants: Always outdoorsy but studying plants and using them in this way for 3 years.