On a rainy Monday morning in July, I had the privilege of participating in a tour of a family-owned and -operated medicinal herb farm called HermOsa Reserve. This healing and information centre was set up by Aida Cedeño, a native to this region of Costa Rica, and her daughter, Jazmin Godinez, who headed our tour and works alongside her mother. The two share a passion for the plants in this area and their ancestral knowledge of their natural healing uses; a dream they want to share with the world.
Jazmin, who speaks excellent English, took our group for a nearly three-hour informational walk around their property, showing us their collection of many dozens of native and imported plants used in traditional healing in Central America. Most of the plants on their property are local to this region, and the few species that are from elsewhere – such as the Panamanian Curatodo – were brought in by Aida herself.
Aida, who is affectionately known as ‘la Negra’ in the local community, led our tour in Spanish, her words all the while being affectionately translated by her daughter.
Up until recently, Aida has been collecting plants to cultivate and harvest for her family’s own uses. She learned about the healing properties of plants from her grandmother while spending time observing and assisting her during various treatments during her youth. Their family chose to visit physicians rarely, if at all, and Aida treated each of her children primarily with medicinal plants.
When her father became gravely ill nearly 20 years ago, Aida decided that she wanted to share her traditional healing knowledge with others beyond her family, who witnessed his condition improving with treatments. Her practice has gradually spread by word of mouth, with clients around the world exulting boastful testimonials about their knowledge and practice.
It was not until recently, though, that Jasmine came to join her mother back in Costa Rica after growing weary of the daily North American grind and the toll it was taking on her and her family. Both Jazmin and her mother believe in the divinity of nature and the importance of embracing the miracles of nature in the healing process. The pair are strong believer in the importance of divinity in healing.
“I didn’t want to be living in the States anymore and I wanted to be on the farm with my mother, sharing with others the wonders of living a more simple, natural life,” says Jazmin, who resides on the property with her husband and four sons. There are three houses on the property, shared by both of Jazmin’s sisters, her brother and an uncle
The family has plans to open guest accommodations in the near future for the clients of their herbal treatment centre. Their plans include creating a meditation garden and a common social area in the space overlooking their incredible view of the Pacific Ocean.
For now, the family grows enough food on the property to sustain themselves, and they invite visitors to the farm to share in the medicinal herbs that are grown in abundance.
The family steward the land using organic and no till methods. All of the operations on the farm are human-powered and the family don’t use any tractors. They have acquired a delicate understanding of when and where to plant so as to maintain soil resilience and decrease pests. Plants are often found in the company of companion species, working together to create a balanced environment for the groupings.
Jazmin says that her family’s dream is to share the healing properties of the natural jungle, which doesn’t require much human intervention to produce the food and medicines that we need for healthy living. Through their visitors, Jazmin and her mother hope to cultivate an appreciation for nature that will see us all working to protect it; to retain it’s medicinal properties for our continued usage. And in the face of growing environmental worries, this is a mission that is more important than ever.
HermOsa Reserve’s medicinal plant tour is 1.5 hours. Cost is $20, and includes a delicious smoothie. Seedlings, cuttings and seeds can be purchased directly from the farm.
Health consultations with Aida, including some recommended plant treatments are $30.
Organic, farm-to-table cooking classes can be organized in advance. Classes run four hours (beginning at 8am for lunch and 1pm for dinner) and are completely hands-on, with participants enjoying a shared meal at the end. Prices TBD.