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Living in Cotacachi, Ecuador: The Sabila Man, an Aloe Vera Artiste

Living in Cotacachi:  The Sabila Man, an Aloe Vera Artiste


We love the sabila man, Wilmer from Cajamarca, Peru.  He’s been both entertaining us and helping us maintain our health ever since we came to Cotacachi.


Wilmer sells one product– a delicious, although viscous health drink made from aloe vera and flax seed.  If you ask, he will customize your drink further by adding supplements and such exotic and healthy ingredients as uña de gato,  amargo and sangre de dragon (blood of the dragon) which kills parasites.  You can also buy a pill to improve your liver and kidneys.


He plies his trade on the streets of Cotacachi and whenever Gary sees him, he has to have a drink of the golden-colored slimy substance.

After my first taste, I refused to try it again for a long time.  It reminded me too much of the glutinous boiled okra I had to eat as a child growing up in Louisiana.   But over time, and after much insistence from Gary (he has taken the place of my mother as the arbiter of my health), I have developed a liking for it.  And it is possible to let it slide down your throat in one long gulp without swallowing.


Now I like it, finding the taste delicious and no longer letting the consistency of it bother me.  I can hear my mother whispering in my ear, “But it’s really good for you.”

Wilmer and his brother Percy both push their carts around Cotacachi but Wilmer is the actor-entertainer of the pair.  People gather around just to watch him go through his routine which involves much more than just preparing the drink.  Wilmer is quite a showman, especially if a camera is around to record him.

Watch our entertaining video of Wilmer in action.


He begins by scraping the aloe vera gel off a fresh leaf.  In Ecuador, the plants get really huge and the leaves range from about a foot long to up to a yard and a half.


Next he tosses the liquid back and forth from a pitcher to a cup, holding the pitcher up in the air and never missing his target.  He strains the concoction and serves it up in a tall glass.  After you’ve swallowed all of it, he will pour you another half glass full.  It is always more than I can drink and all for $.50 a serving, including supplements and pills. What a bargain!


He is very popular with the townsfolk and we often have to wait quite a while before it’s our turn.  He is also quite an entrepreneur.  He talked Gary into bringing him back some $2 bills from the states.  When we asked him later if he still had any he said no.  He’d sold them all for $5 each.

Those who take sabila internally say that it is a good laxative, kills parasites, destroys certain harmful bacteria in the intestines, and may be beneficial in the healing of ulcers.  Dr. Timothy Moore of the Aloe Vera Research claims that sabila will heal mouth lesions and cuts, aid in healing after periodontal surgery and reduce pain.

In fact, the health benefits of sabila are numerousClick here for our web page article about the wonderful healing properties of this simple plant.

Also read the blog about Linda’s first-hand experience using aloe vera to heal her knee.

Wilmer’s turns the preparation of his aloe vera drink into performance art in this video.


One Comment

  1. jerry cochran says:

    Would like to rent in Cotacachi, equador, four months at a time.

    Plan to then spend three months in USA., on an ongoing basis…

    Trying to find cheapest air fare, Birmingham, Al, to Cotacachi, and back—also, estimated rent four months at a time. Not
    cheapest apartment, but also, not higher prices..

    Can you help?