Sauco Cured our Cough – Another South American Natural Medicine

May 2016

Michael: I picked the white flower as instructed and brought it to my wife. Then gave her a strange look as she immersed it into hot water to make a tea.Sauco Flower

A virus had both of us feeling horrible. The constant cough and hacking made things worse.

The idea of using natural remedies is nothing new to me since arriving in Colombia. Many of the over 150 varieties of fruits have curative properties. Then there are herbs not found in North America that are also used for healing. In fact a group of Australian scientists came to Colombia and test some of the natural cures against pharmaceuticals. They found the plants from nature to be better. Natural products are found more often in Colombian drug stores than in the United States. On more than one occasion a doctor here has recommended a cure using plants I could easily find.

Graciela: I learned the remedy from my mother. She learned it from her mother. My doctor brother-in-law even recommends the use of sauco.

Michael and I are lucky to have many sauco trees on our property. In the city they are more difficult to find and my mother always had to purchase it when needed. We currently live in a more rural area and people can be seen picking the flowers from trees growing along the road.Sauco trees

Michael: My research revealed that the use of sauco by the people of Central and South American dates to before the coming of the Spanish. The tree, that grows up to 20 high, is used for both food and medicine.

As part of the elderberry family there are varieties of sauco around the world. The ones here in Colombia are among the very few where the berries are edible right from the tree. These you can use in adding to pancakes. The other in the genus group are poisonous and must be boiled first before making into jam and other products such as wine.

Sauco BerriesThe tea made from the flower is good for treating respiratory system problems. This includes cough and the flu.

In other Latin American countries the leaves are used. There is a Mexican lore stating that putting them under your bed promotes sleep. In other places the leaves are boiled first to remove the poison. Then they are made into a paste and used to help heal small wounds or disappear dark spots on the face.

Graciela: The sauco tea worked and saved us a fortune from purchasing cough syrup at the store.

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