Symposium “Plants in Health and Culture”

The Role of Plants in Ñuu Sau (Mixtec) Medicine (Mexico)


Plants can heal humans on different levels. On the physical level everyday health is maintained by adhering to the rules of balancing the cold, hot, and temperate qualities inherent to fruit, herbs, and vegetables. In the case of mild physical discomforts a homemade herbal tea can be the right remedy. Special conditions, however, often ask for special treatment. The postpartum mother, for example, is brushed and patted with herbs in the cocimiento and the temazcal to ‘cook’ her to make her less ‘raw’ and ‘cold.’ The aromatic smell of herbs plays an important role in ‘cleansing’ through a limpia, and a specialized spiritual form of healing occurs when a healer communicates with the ‘being’ of a plant.