Category: Botanicas

Mainstream medicine is beginning to explore the aisles of botanicas

The shops, burgeoning in the Southland, sell herbs and remedies long used by Latinos. Drive along many boulevards in the Los Angeles area and you will see colorful botanicas, with their curious mix of candles, incense, potions, lotions, rosaries and a pantheon of Catholic and folk saints in the window. Botanicas have arrived in this metropolis along with the immigrants they serve, soaring in numbers as Latinos make up nearly 45% of the Los Angeles population. Patrick Polk, a visiting professor at UCLA who has studied botanicas for more than a decade, believes there are more here in Southern California

Botanicas — supply stores for the gods

Spiritual gifts for the deities of the world Customers ask for the strangest things in botanicas, little stores that sell candles, potions, statues and other spiritual sundries used to summon gods and goddesses, saints and demons, from religions far and near. Some shoppers may want to bring down Ogun, an African warrior god who loves black cigars, red palm oil and 151-proof rum. Others may need three green candles to get the attention of St. Anthony of Padua, the Franciscan friar remembered for loving the poor, healing the sick and other miracles. Then there are those customers with more sinister

Traditional botanicas serve Latino community

Some mornings, before Ana and her husband Fernando Almanza arrive at 8 a.m. to open the doors of their shop Botanica Ana in Salt Lake City, there’s a line at the front door. Their customers are looking for dried herbs to use in natural home remedies, mint for stomach aches, eucalyptus to cure a cold. Some buy candles adorned with the image of their favorite Catholic saint; they will light the candle and pray for love, a job, good health. Others take a seat on a white plastic chair and wait for a turn with Ana, the shop’s spiritualista, or