Cocùn, chali chali
This small tree grows in the woods and river hills of the former Guaraní territory, the “cocú”. It displays a reddish-brown trunk and green foliage. The small white flowers bloom during the Southern Hemisphere springtime, which begins in September, and its fleshy red drupe is highly appreciated by local birds.
Although present in Uruguay, Bolivia and Brazil, the “cocú” is more closely related to Paraguay, the former center of the Guaraní domain. The country even declared a national beverage the so-called “tereré” that is prepared with “cocú” and “mate”. The “tereré” is prepared the same way as “mate” but using cold water instead of hot water, as hot water would diminish its curative properties. According to the common stories, these sort of beverages were consumed by the natives and then studied and replicated. People use to drink from the same glass, called “guampa”, taking turns and sharing an important social moment, symbol of trust and communion. “Cocú” components are also consumed in salads or juices because of their diverse nutritional attributes.
Additionally, the “cocú” is considered an effective medicine for intestinal disorders and more specifically for liver diseases.
Outside Paraguay, it is possible to buy it in health food stores or in some Argentinian markets.