I ask this little plant to keep growing with its little green leaves and its juicy stems, so that it can keep giving medicine to many people, so that with this they can cure their ailments. There are plants for many types of diseases: for high fevers, for colds, for the stomach, for the back, for pains in the waist, for many problems we know of there are very good herbs. With these we cured ourselves in the past; I still use them
—Teodora Cuero quoted in Mike Wilken’s “Teodora Cuero, the General of La Huerta,” published in News from Native California, Summer 2008
Teodora Cuero is the traditional authority and plant specialist of the Kumiai Indian Community of La Huerta in Baja, California. Born in 1920, Teodora is the repository of a rich legacy of traditional knowledge about the natural resources of her region. Here she gathers woolly blue curls, Trichostema lanatum, one of her most important medicinal plants.
As I’m writing this, I’m drinking woolly blue curls tea made by boiling the leaves and stem in water for about 5 minutes. I’ve planted woolly blue curls in my garden. It’s August, and the plant is no longer in bloom, but all parts—leaves, stems, and flowers—can be used to make a delicious and healthful tea. Teodora told Rose Ramirez and me that the best time to gather the plant is when its in bloom, in April and May, but that it’s still a very medicinal plant whenever you harvest it. According to Teodora, woolly blue curls is good for the memory, among other things . . .