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Medicinal Plants of Santa María Tlahuitoltepec: Estrella Jhonaí Gutiérrez Vásquez

Photograph of Estrella Jhonaí Gutiérrez Vásquez

The Indigenous Community Media Youth Fellowship, as part of the Community Media Grants Pro-
gram, supports young Indigenous leaders between the ages of 16–26 who are eager to learn about technology, program development, journalism, community radio, media, and Indigenous Peoples’ rights advocacy. This is the third year of the Fellowship Program, which has awarded grants to 22 youth to date.

Estrella Jhonaí Gutiérrez Vásquez (Mixe/ Ayüük), 17, is from Santa María Tlahuitoltepec,Oaxaca, Mexico. She has participated at her local community radio station, Radio Jënpoj, from a very young age. When she was 9, she learned audio editing with the help of her father and became a program editor by the time she was 15. Her fellowship project, entitled “Tyikyëë’nyëm Tyik’ä’jtsyëm Yë N’ääts Yë Nkukoj” (Taking Care and Feeding Our Roots to Make Them Bloom), aims to strengthen the Ayüük language, worldview, and ancestral knowledge by producing a series of radio programs in Ayüük and Spanish. She recently created a guide and radio program on medicinal plants found in Santa María Tlahuitoltepec and how to use them for prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Traditional Medicines Recommended in COVID-19 Prevention. Recipes and instructions contributed by Santa María Tlahuitoltepec citizens.

  1. Willow and mezcal bath to fight against fever, one of the symptoms of COVID. Preparation: Heat water, boil the willow, and add one liter of mezcal. Use: Bathe with the mixture.
  2. Pumpkin bath to fight fever, one of the symptoms of COVID. Preparation: Heat the pumpkin. Use: Take a pumpkin bath.
  3. Garlic to alleviate cough, one of the symptoms of COVID. Preparation: Peel the garlic so that it can be taken as a pill and chewed, crushed, and boiled in water, adding half a lemon. Use: Drink the boiled mixture to open constricted airways.
  4. Garlic, onion, lemon, and honey to combat cough, one of the symptoms of COVID. Preparation: Boil the water adding 1⁄4 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 lemon, 2 teaspoons of honey. Use: Take as a tea.
  5.  Eat healthily: quelites (edible greens), avocado leaf, a lot of garlic, and accompany meals with huaje. These foods have a high vitamin content so they help to keep our immune system healthy and strong.
  6. Use some of the plants mentioned above to fight symptoms such as cough, fever, and headache; others are responsible for detoxifying the body.


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