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Traditional teas: Mastranto and Lemongrass


[This how the mastranto leaves look like.]

This how the mastranto leaves look like.


[The leaves are placed in a pot with boiling water for a few minutes.]

The leaves are placed in a pot with boiling water for a few minutes.


[Here is the mastranto tea, ready for being enjoyed.]

Here is the mastranto tea, ready for being enjoyed.


[This is the bush of lemon grass.]

This is the bush of lemon grass.


[The long leaves are folded and tied. Then, they are placed into hot water for a few minutes.]

The long leaves are folded and tied. Then, they are placed into hot water for a few minutes.


[The color of the lemon grass tea, seen here, is slightly different than the mastranto one.]

The color of the lemon grass tea, seen here, is slightly different than the mastranto one.


[In Panama, the traditional way of drinking the lemon grass tea is to add milk to it.]

In Panama, the traditional way of drinking the lemon grass tea is to add milk to it.


By:

Marino Jaén Espinosa
2014-06-05

Traditional medicine is an important part of cultural heritage. Due to the location of Panama in the tropics, we have a great flora variety. The properties of many of these plants have been identified and treasured for a long time by Panamanians. This is the case of the two plants we will review in this article.

The first of them is mastranto, a shrub also know for its scientific name: Salvia scutellarioides. The leaves of this plant are used for preparing a tea that is a good remedy for stomach aches and other gastric problems.

Another traditional tea made in Panama is the lemongrass tea. While very nutritious and presumed to have effects against many diseases, this tea has also a role in other aspects of Panamanian society. For instance, this is a tea associated with funerary rites and traditions, because it is always served in wakes and then in the praying sessions for the dead.

Mastranto and lemongrass are two of the many plants used for making tea in Panama. In future articles, we will present more information about this topic of our cultural heritage.


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