I found this interesting.DY GRIFFINAfter disasters like Hurricane Michelle, the first thing people ask for is medicine because of the effects of contaminated water. Medical brigades come to help usually, although since September there have been almost none due to the travel scare after the attack on the World Trade Center.When these brigades come I am ambivalent. It is wonderful that people are willing to take time off from their work, pay their own expenses, and come and help poor people. Much of what they do is de-worming. This lasts until the next glass of un-boiled water they drink. Does anyone ever ask what did people do before the foreigners came in to help in? Are medical brigades fostering dependence on foreign medicine when the cures grow here in Honduras?I asked people what they did, and most people give the same answer. The Pech, the Garifunas, and the Bay Islanders say when they were young their parents gave them apazote (worm weed, in Bay Islands English) every three months. This was a good thing to do, because according to Common Medicinal Plants of Honduras published by the UNAH, apazote or epazote kills five out of six kinds of intestinal worms.The only kind of intestinal worm it does not kill is tape worm. What you need to kill tape worm are pumpkin or squash seeds. Ladinos near the El Salvador border are used to using dried, mashed up pumpkin seeds in a dish called "atol chuco". You need to eat a lot of pumpkin seeds, half a pound to be sure the tape worm is dead.I have tried boiling the squash/pumpkin or ayote that grows on the North Coast. After eating pumpkin and the seeds about 1 1/2 hour later it feels like there is a war going on in your intestines. To make sure you got rid of the tape worm and it does not grow back, it is recommended that about 4 hours after you eat the squash seeds you take something to clean out your insides like castor oil or aceite de castor. This is sold at medicinal plant stands.You can mix this with something else like orange juice or ginger tea to get around the taste and texture of the castor oil.Another common intestinal parasite in Honduras is the amoeba. I have been the at-home test for amoebas, you have to drink milk and if it immediately causes you to bloat up with gas, then it is amoebas. Worms are more likely to move around making it hard to go to sleep at night. Sometimes the movement feels like machine gun fire rat-tat-tat in one place. Then you know it is worms. Many people have both.The traditional cure that is effective against amoebas is canafistula. This is a long black seed pod that is sold in medicinal plant stands and often grows in people's yards. The recipe in common Medicinal Plants of Honduras is to open it up and make a drink like horchata of the pulp. The Garï¿½funa's way is simply to open up the canafistula and eat it.Canafistula like castor oil, is a "purgante." This means you will want to be close to a bathroom as this medicine is proven to clean out your system.The recommended "purgante" by midwives for babies is chichimora, a seed pod that is sold in medicinal plant stands. Grate half the seed until you have one teaspoon. Add to this one cup of warm water. This is put on a cloth and the baby sucks on it. Garifunas use honey with this, but the use of honey with very young babies is problematic. Whether chichimora kills everything or just washes the insides has not yet been tested.While diarrhea can be caused by intestinal parasites, another common cause is bacteria. To control diarrhea, boil cinnamon sticks until you have a strong tea. Drink it. Pregnant women should avoid cinnamon tea as it can cause miscarriages.Another common cure is guayaba leaves. Make a tea with leaves. Boil in a liter of milk. Drink half a cup a day for two days. This leaf kills the bacteria that causes dysentery.Reportedly drinking the juice of two bitter oranges will also stop the diarrhea. I also recommend drinking the bitter orange leaf tea, a wide spectrum antibiotic, together with this.