Forest strawberry (Mi’a)

Story by Aneth Lusitande and Daris Payaguaje

Whenever I got sick or had an injury, my father treated me with medicinal plants. Since my childhood, he has shared his knowledge of ancestral medicine with me.

I traveled with Daris to the San Pablo community of Katë’tsiaya so that my father could show us the preparation and use of the ancestral plant Mi’a, as we call it in the Paikoka language. My father, Nicolás Lusitande Piaguaje, told us that this medicine is used to heal cuts and wounds, as well as to treat leishmaniasis (a skin infection caused by a parasite).

This medicine can be prepared in two ways: one involves scraping the stem of the plant and squeezing its juice into the cut or wound to stop the bleeding. The second method involves  cooking the liquid from the plant until it thickens, which can then be applied to the wound.

My father expressed that he feels proud and empowered to possess this knowledge, but he is worried because this ancestral wisdom is disappearing. “I think this knowledge will die because our children don’t want to learn,” he told Daris.

He reminded us of the importance of taking care of our forest, where the medicinal plants grow, and urged us not to let this wisdom die, as it has been passed down to us by our ancestors.

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