Polly Red Head: Flower and Protector of the Forest

Polly Red Head
Firebush or Guardian of the Forest

Latin Name – Hamelia patens
Maya Name – Ix-canan

As I prepare for my annual pilgrimage to Belize to teach classes, I am getting excited to be with some of my plant friends of Central America.

I can’t wait to say hello to Polly Red Head. I can’t even say her name without a smile coming to my face, and joy filling my heart.  Oh Polly! I am so grateful for all the gifts she has shared with me. And to think, at first I didn’t think she was all that pretty. But that was before I got to know her! When I look upon Polly now, it’s like greeting a long time, beloved friend. She lightens my heart.

Polly Red Head grows at the edge of the jungle, which is why she has the name ‘guardian of the forest’.

I frequently use Polly Red Head in Spiritual baths, and I’ve personally had quite profound experiences with her! She is joyful and uplifting, and I feel she is very protective of female energy. She has such power!

I once gave a flower essence of Polly Red Head to a friend of mine, who has red hair just like Polly’s red flowers, and the expression of utter joy that came over her face as she took the flower essence is something I will never forget.

Polly Red Head has a long history of medicinal use for ALL skin problems (i.e.: sores, rashes, burns, itching, cuts, fungus, insect bites). In fact, she is considered a cura para todo, or sanalo-todo – which means ‘cures everything’. In addition to helping with skin problems, a strong decoction can be used in a sitz bath for menstrual cramps, the boiled leaves can be used in a vaginal steam to reduce pain and swelling following a miscarriage, and when taken as a tea she can help to build the blood. If you get an insect bite, crush the leaf and rub against the sting, and then wrap it with a warmed or crushed leaf. For more detailed information on how to prepare and use this plant, see Rosita Arvigo’s book ‘Rainforest Remedies’.

The next time you are in an area where Polly Red Head grows, please give her a warm loving embrace for me.