Hibiscus esculentus, also known as guiambo or oker, is an herbaceous annual plant with a somewhat woody stem at the base. It grows quite high. The leaves have a long stem, are wide and heart-shaped. The flowers are light yellow and have a dark red color on the inside. We know different types on Curaçao. The herbaceous parts of the plant are covered with sharp hairs and often have purple spots. The fruit has the form of a narrow cylindrical capsule, wide at the stem and pointed at the top. The fruit is often covered with hairs along the edges. As the moment approaches that a guiambo no longer produces, they quickly harden on the tree. Funchi (polenta) with guiambo is one of our favorite dishes.
The use of herbs and their medicinal effect goes back to the very beginning of our history.
The earliest civilizations already used plants instinctively for both nutrition and healing. Also, the ancient Egyptians practiced herbal medicine - at a particularly high level. The Jewish people know clergymen who heal people with herbs. Around 460 BC, the father of medicine, Hypocrates, works in Greece. The Romans use herbs and flowers in various ways. In China, herbal systems have traditionally been developed for therapies. Native American Shamans and indigenous African cultures use herbs for healing and rituals.
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