Pata de Vaca/Bauhinia forficata
Because the large leaves of this plant share a striking resemblance to a cow’s hoof, the Bauhinia forficata is called Pata de Vaca in the Spanish countries of Central and South America. In Belize and throughout the English speaking Caribbean however, it is known as Cow Foot or Cow Hoof. For the purposes of this article and to avoid a misnomer we will refer to it by its latin name, Bauhinia.
Despite its name issues, this large hoof-shaped leafed plant has a solid reputation for balancing blood sugar levels among diabetics, healing diabetic related diseases like kidney disorders and urinary problems. The effects of this herb on blood sugar have been clinically tested in South America where it is widely used by traditional healers. It has no competition in the plant kingdom or in modern medicine. Bauhinia is so effective at balancing blood glucose levels that some professionals are starting to call it “vegetable insulin.”
When not treating diabetic disorders, Bauhinia is busy tending to other imbalances like blood building, body detoxification, enhancing blood cell production, lowering bad cholesterol levels and acting as a diuretic.
All these systemic adjustments help restore overall body functionality, and explain why Garifuna healers use this plant for just about everything.