ASUNCION – Asuncion’s Market 4, the largest in Paraguay, this Monday sold hundreds of liters of “carrulim,” the traditional Guarani Indian potion made from distilled sugar cane, herbs and lemon, which tradition says helps ward off the illnesses associated with the warm north winds of August.
As occurs every year, the market was packed with visitors headed for the area called “the Walk of the Yuyos” (medicinal plants) in order to buy this magic drink, which is prepared a month beforehand and conveniently bottled.
All are convinced of the healing powers of a drink they believe acts against Paraguay’s weather in August, the month when people get sick and start feeling “kaigue,” as the Indians say, meaning they lose their appetite.
As the Guarani say, “August is the month when skinny cows die.”
Based on that tradition, the vendors of medicinal plants sold their carrulim potion Monday, the first day of August, at 5,000 guaranies ($1.00) each.
The goal this year was to surpass the 500 liters sold last year, when for the first time Poha Ñana, or National Medicinal Plants Day, was celebrated.
“Sales of carrulim have increased in the Walk of the Yuyos and I think we’re exceeding our own expectations. The idea is to sell all 800 liters of sugar cane, herbs and lemon,” the event organizer, Javier Torres, told EFE.
Torres noted the importance of preserving the tradition “because every 1st of August, the eighth month of the year, we must renew our blood because this is the month of bad ‘vibes.’”
“It’s a belief deeply rooted in our Paraguayan culture,” he said.
As to how the carrulim should be taken on Aug. 1, one of the saleswomen, Cristina Amarilla, told EFE that it should be taken in seven gulps to achieve it consumer’s purpose of “purifying the blood, growing strong and not getting sick.”
Amarilla, who has been selling herbs on the Walk of the Yuyos for the past 30 years, said that if people get sick during the year, it’s because they didn’t drink carrulim in August.