Medicinal Garden Series: Headache Helper

Put down that ibuprofen, move aside aceitamenophen. Have a headache? Nature has got you covered.

Doubling as a fashion accessory when crumpled slightly and placed on the head, piper auritum is a favorite of tourists visiting the UGA Costa Rica San Luis Botanical Garden’s medicinal plant garden. Anisillo, as it is referred to in Spanish, belongs to the  Piperaceae family and is endemic to the Americas, spanning from Mexico to areas of South America.

Piper auritum

The plant generally appears as a smaller tree exhibiting stems with sometimes-swollen nodes and large leaf scars. Anisillo typically grows to about 6 meters high.

After crumpling the leaves, feel the cooling relief it provides by pressing it against your forehead or on top of your head. You will find that it is especially effective in aiding headaches brought on by long periods of sun exposure. Crumpling the leaves of piper auritum gives off what many say resembles the smell of root beer.

Beyond its principal use as a headache helper, it can be brewed in an infusion to help soothe stomachaches, toothaches, and pain caused by arthritis and rheumatism.

Blog post contribution by Bilan Haji-Mohamed, UGACR Photojournalism Intern

Humans of UGACR, San Luis: Mario Pérez & Official Site

As we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of UGA Costa Rica (UGACR) offering education abroad programs, what better way to reflect on the great decade than to speak with those who have been at the UGACR campus since day one. We spoke to San Luis native Mario Pérez. With his infectious smile and caring nature, Mario is truly an essential part of the hardworking team that is Mantenimiento, or Maintenance.

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The group looks on as Cody holds the Yellow-throated Euphonia in photographer's pose.

Friday Feature: Bird Researcher, PhD Student Cody Cox

cody_toucanetCody Cox is a PhD student in Integrative Conservation and Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia who is conducting his research at UGA Costa Rica. Cody’s research focuses on ornithology and spatial approaches to wildlife conservation.

As part of his PhD research, Cody is examining how landscape structure, specifically the arrangement of forested and agricultural areas, affects the movement patterns of several bird species in the region around UGA Costa Rica’s campus. This kind of data is critical for developing effective conservation plans for these species.

We were able to join Cody as he took a group of students from the National Geographic Student Expedition program through part of his daily process from retrieving birds from the nets to data entry.

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Independence Day Series: Talk Like a Tico

With approximately 470 million speakers worldwide, or 6.7% of the world’s population, Spanish is the second most popular language in the world after Mandarin Chinese according to a study done by the Spanish language nonprofit Instituto Cervantes. Though the more formal, classroom Spanish is understood throughout the entire country, Costa Rica is known for its distinct colloquialisms, the most famous of which being Pura Vida.

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A Day in the Life: Resident Naturalist Mac Wing

Rain, Sweat, and Strong Coffee: A Day in the Life of a UGACR Resident Naturalist

UGA Costa Rica Resident Naturalist Mac Wing with a blunt-headed tree snake

My day begins around 5 am, when I hear monkeys above my cabin. They’re strictly diurnal, so that sound means the sun is up. I pull on my clothes, rain boots, and grab a flashlight and camera. I may be gone for the whole day, so it’s good to be prepared for anything.

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