Postcard from Belize: “Hot Lips”

One of the most interesting things in my first week here has been learning about Belize’s numerous medicinal plants. They are all around – in the rainforests, in gardens, you even see them while driving along – different trees for different ailments and every ailment you can think of, from sunburn to toothache. It’s what the Maya used thousands and thousands of years ago – bush medicine. And today, Belizeans continue to use the very same plants and remedies. Who needs to go to the pharmacy when there’s a cure in the backyard?! Well, at least for small, common aches.

I can even recognize a few now without help. When they look like this one, below, it’s not very hard.

Called “Hot Lips” locally, this plant helps women with cleaning out or “expulsing” the placenta or afterbirth. The plant is crushed and boiled, and the resulting liquid i used as a wash. How appropriate that it should have the shape of a woman’s lips? God is a funny guy.

Hot Lips in the Forest - One of hundreds of Belize's medicinal plants.

It’s also used as a  painkiller for headaches, sprains, bruises and earaches. The more scientific name for “hot lips” is Psychotria poeppigiana.


  1. Not that is so cool. Such and interesting looking plant…. :)
    Thanks for sharing that with us Lily….

  2. Lebawit Lily Girma

    Sure thing Jackie! Isn’t it the funniest thing ever? I smile every time I see one. Have some orchids shots for you, I didn’t forget…:-)

  3. Gotta love any post that can be tagged using the word “afterbirth!” Belize has such an interesting and diverse variety of plants. It sounds like you’re learning a lot.

  4. Oh that’s so freaking cool, I love it!

  5. Candice-

    I think you could have some serious fun with the plant life of Belize. Lily should let you know if she comes across any plants that are turned into local hooch. :)

  6. Lebawit Lily Girma

    I’m becoming a little obsessed with the plants here! :-) I even tried some crushed oregano leaves on my sprained ankle and I swear it worked some. I would just need to do it all day!