With the nation’s healthcare system in crisis, more people are looking to natural and traditional sources of healing. On that front, the Native American community has a lot to offer.

Over thousands of years Native Americans lived closely with nature and identified a tremendous variety of plants that treat all kinds of illnesses, from diabetes and arthritis, to stomach problems and headaches.

A new book by University of Mexico scholar Eliseo “Cheo” Torres takes a look at something called curanderismo. This is a collected body of knowledge that represents the traditional healing methods using herbs and plants. It’s a treasure trove of knowledge gleaned from the Native peoples of southwest America, Mexico and parts of Latin America.

To this day, the wisdom of curanderismo has remained popular with the poor people of Mexico and Latin America who do not have access to modern health care. But with more people in the U.S. unable to obtain affordable health insurance, the methods of curanderismo may not only offer relief, but real, significant cures of disease.

Professor Torres’ book, titled “Curanderismo: The Art of Traditional Medicine Without Borders,” provides an extensive survey of medicinal plants used to help digestive systems and how healers use laughter therapy to counter traumatic experiences. It also espouses a holistic approach and puts emphasis on a healthy lifestyle to prevent illness from happening in the first place.

An Oakland, California, based psychologist says he has observed many young people turning to curanderismo to deal with addition and physical pain. Ricardo Carrillo, who is both a psychologist and natural healer, said curanderismo provides spiritual tools to help people stay clean of addictive substances and gain strength from a Higher Power.

Categories: Native American, Native American Culture

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