Saturday, April 13, 2024

Four o’clock, time to heal


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“SON LAS CUATRO! Son las cuatro, señorita! Estoy aquí.”  
In 1985 while I was in Venezuela the taxi driver who arrived to transport me greeted me in Spanish, using the statements above. I was fussy to reply to him in Spanish. I said: “Buenos tardes, señor! Me llamo Annette. Soy de Barbados! Yo quiero ir a Sabana Grande para la cena.”   
Conversing in Spanish was imperative when I travelled to Caracas, Venezuela, first as a student of the Barbados Community College, Hospitality Division and, secondly, when I travelled there with my family on several occasions.
While in Venezuela/Margarita, I went on boat rides, travelled on the metro, visited a family and travelled to Colonia Tovar (the German village) and sampled the foods and rich culture of South America.  
For those reasons, these serene memories of Spanish and Venezuela invaded my mind, as I began to explore with a silent doctor called the four o’clock plant. Four o’clock in Spanish is “son las cuatro”. This month we will travel to other regions and shine the spotlight on flowering plants/trees known for their medicinal properties. Additionally, this article is dedicated to mothers as we prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day.
Las cuatro, Marvel of Peru or the four o’clock plant, has been a member of my mother’s garden for “donkey years” and I always admired its beautiful flowers.  These beautiful, multi-coloured, white, red, cream, pink or purple flowers always emit a sweet fragrance. The flowers open around four o’clock in the evening, hence the name “four o’clock plant”.  
Research shows that this silent doctor was used from time immemorial by the indigenous Indians in some countries, including Brazil. These various groups used it for many health challenges, including colds, fungal infections, conjunctivitis, itchiness, eczema, herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, yeast infection, leucorrhea, ringworm, libido stimulation, leprosy, intestinal parasites, piles and chagas disease. Research also shows that it was used for mumps and bone fractures and as a uterine stimulant to hasten childbirth. It has very strong abortive properties and should not be used by women who are pregnant.
In the area of food science, a dye from the flowers is used in cosmetics, cakes and jellies and the seeds are used as a substitute for pepper.
Finally, as we continue on our conscious ascension towards better health using silent doctors, please be aware that the garden plants which we take care of each day yearn to have better relationships with us.
Some of them are magnificent healers.  I feel exceptionally empowered to introduce another legend to you. In my opinion, the Creator is working a purpose out.
• Annette Maynard-Watson, a teacher and herbal educator, may be contacted at or call 250-6450.
 DISCLAIMER: It is not our intention to prescribe or make specific health claims for any products. Any attempt to diagnose and treat real illness should come under thedirection of your health care professional.


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