South-Of-The-Border Therapy

Do your kidneys need cleansing? Have you packed on a few pounds? Perhaps your step needs some spring. Aguas frescas might be the cure for what ails you.

The traditional Mexican coolers, concocted from fresh fruits and exotic ingredients including prickly pear cactus and chaya, claim a host of healing properties, from cellulite reduction to improved circulation. Found at restaurants and stands throughout Mexico, the tasty beverages are favorites among the mostly American guests at Esperanza, a Baja spa and resort. "We wanted to give our guests something more than tea and water so they could experience the essence of the location," says Tracy Herk, the resort's director of spa development and operations.

Spa goers choose from a menu listing nine aguas frescas, along with their reputed therapeutic benefits. For example, according to local lore, the frothy papaya-mango mixture makes your skin glow, the grapefruit-aloe vera-prickly pear potion melts away fat, and the cucumber-parsley-carrot combo brightens hair and eyes.

Herk admits it's unlikely that the 4-ounce servings actually have any curative effects. But even so, these liquid luxuries are a fun way to drink your fresh fruits and vegetables.

—Maryann Hammers