Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Corantus

Nº 5

Emoliente

Emoliente is a traditional Peruvian herbal drink prepared with roasted barley grains, extracts of medicinal herbs, sugar, and the juice of a Peruvian variety of lime (Citrus aurantifolius). Its nutritional value is low, but it can supply some carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamin C to the diet. Its best value is as a natural herbal medicine.

The ingredients used to prepare emoliente are variable. They greatly depend on the regional or family traditions. The roasted barley and lime juice are probably the ingredients that most identify this herbal drink. Flaxseed/linseed is also characteristic of the emoliente sold on the Peruvian streets, since flaxseed/linseed produces the remarkably viscous consistency of this variety of emoliente. Horse tail (Equisetum spp.), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), plantain (Plantago major), and boldo (Peumus boldus) are among the other most commonly added medicinal herbs. In recent years, the emoliente —especially that which is sold on the streets— has progressively incorporated a whole series of fancy medicinal plants, especially Peruvian ones, some of which have been incorporated to the emoliente due to their sudden popularity abroad. Cat's claw (Uncaria tomentosa), maca (Lepidium peruvianum), chancapiedra (Phyllanthus niruri), dragon's blood (Croton spp.), muña (Minthostachys mollis), aloe (Aloe vera), etc. are among the plants with medicinal properties currently being used.

Some special emolientes usually include pollen, honey, algarrobina (a syrup prepared from the pulp of the fruits of a leguminous tree called algarrobo, or Prosopis spp., closely related to mesquite), corn silk, sweet spices (as cinnamon, for example), and the water where fruits (such as quince, pineapple, etc.) or tubers (such as potato) have been boiled, among their ingredients.

In order to prepare emoliente, just simmer the roasted barley and herbs of your election in some water for several minutes. Then, let it stand for a while, and add lime juice and sugar to taste. Honey can be used instead of sugar.

Emoliente is mostly drunk hot, but it can also be drunk cold.

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