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The harvest of Macela


By Aleyna


The harvest of Macela is a tradition that is repeated year by year in the period of Lent: in the early hours of Good Friday, before the sun rises. People go in search of Macela – herb that gives rise to a tasty tea with medicinal properties – in the fields and on the edges of the roads.
The reason for the tradition, nobody knows. What everyone knows is that it is necessary to harvest the macela in the early hours of Good Friday before dawn.

The Macela

Legend has it that the healing properties of the macela only take effect if the plant is harvested on Good Friday before dawn. The herb is native to Brazilian flora, also known by several other names, even in some regions it is incorrect to call “marcela”.

It is a perennial shrub that reaches about one meter in height and that in the southern region usually blooms in the month of March. The flowers are yellow, about an inch in diameter, blooming in small clusters. The leaves are thin and light green in color, somewhat grayish, which stands out from the rest of the field’s vegetation.

The traditional harvest of the macela, which takes place annually in at least seven Brazilian states, may have its days numbered. This is what a study by a group of professors at UFRGS points out on a portion of the most used medicinal plants in the state.

The research, published in the book Plants of Popular Medicines in Rio Grande do Sul, addressed 56 distinct species (34 of them native), and points out the folklore of harvesting the popular marcela on Good Friday as one of the main causes of the probable extinction.

Scientific name: Achyroclien saturei oides

Popular name: Macela-do-campo, macelinha, yellow-macela, national chamomile, needle-tick, macela, lozenge-do-mato, macela-do sertão, tea-pond-pond, soldiers’ grass, yarrow, milfwet

Properties: Antiallergic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, sedative, bactericidal and tonic.

Indications: Heartburn, gallstones, lightening hair, headaches, intestinal cramps, sudden muscle contractions, bruises, menstrual disorders, diabetes, diarrhea, dysentery, gastric and digestive disorders, headache, stomach pain, epilepsy, spasms, circulation stimulant capillary, fever; gastritis, impotence, inappetence, inflammation, washing wounds and ulcers, poor digestion; delicate skin and hair; nervousness, gastric disorders, sunscreen, hair loss, cold, fluid retention, rheumatism, fetid sweats on the feet. Its dried flowers are used in many regions to fill pillows and quilts.

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Well...theres hardly a problem this herb won’t help! Great info. Aleyna! Thanks for sharing.

10 Apr, 2020


Great blog, Aleyna. Really interesting. Amazing list of complaints and conditions that this herb will remedy or help. I enjoyed reading the history behind the Macela.

10 Apr, 2020


A fascinating read. Great research Aleyna. Despite all our efforts, there's still so much we don't know about the plants with which we share our world.

11 Apr, 2020


Thank you all for your comments. I found interesting sharing the informations with you. My family has used the macela tea digestive problems since I know myself.

Karen I didnt see many cientifc articles about, but collected the abastract of one of them

"This study presents a literature review on the botanical aspects, chemical composition, and the main popular as well as experimentally proven uses up to now, on the species Achyrocline satureioides (macela). The main scientific aspects on the species were compiled aiming to bring about its potential as raw material for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. Moreover the conventional scientific journals there were included the information collected from the main Brazilian congresses and symposiums, in the field of medicinal and aromatic plants."

13 Apr, 2020

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