Most foreigners living on the Island do it. We learned it from the locals. At first, a believer of natural remedies and the power of mind over matter, I resisted. But since my horrible bout with stubborn, nothing-but-chemicals-will-get-me-out-of-your-body amoebas, I have joined the ranks of people that take medicine to treat parasites every six months, religiously, whether or not we know for a fact that we are suffering from parasites.
However, I have not being discouraged from searching for alternative treatment. When I heard that epazote, an herb widely used in Mexican cuisine to enhance the flavor of certain dishes, is also an effective natural remedy to keep parasites at bay when taken as tea, I made it a point to sip a cup or two at least twice a week. Yet I was still suffering from stomach discomfort when a friend introduced me to his wife, who happens to be a doctor.
When I casually approached the subject of parasites, she was quick in recommending epazote tea. I told her I had been drinking it to no avail and she proceeded to initiate me on the wisdom and ritual of using this ancient remedy successfully. As it turns out, its effectiveness depends as much on the tea itself as on the sagacity of the person who administers it.
While the tea is prepared, she explained in a solemn tone, the “patient” must be in a place that is totally out of reach from the smell of the infusion. Once ready, it is important that you keep the cup tightly covered until it is in the hands of the patient and then it must be gulped down swiftly.
If you are not about to blurt out "Why?!", then perhaps you should stop reading, but if like me that day, you are holding your breath waiting for a break in the story to ask, here is your answer: should the parasites catch a whiff of the tea before it is swallowed, they will twist around to protect themselves from certain death, rendering the treatment totally ineffective.