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Apr 12, 2016

A Book on Mayan Herbal Medicine

Aurora Saqui is a versatile Mayan woman who has taken on numerous creative roles. Today, she donned her hat as a writer and released a book on herbal remedies following on the steps of her great uncle Elijio Panti.  Now, the Mayas were pretty much advanced as it relates to the use of herbs for medicinal purposes and Saqui documents remedies that can ease common illnesses as diarrhea, cough, cold, diabetes and even depression. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Belize is a country rooted in Mayan history and rich in plant life that has traditionally been used for herbal remedies. That’s the premise of the cultural heritage of Aurora Garcia Saqui. She’s an artist; a painter, a carver and a healer in the village of Maya Center in the south. But today at the Image Factory in Belize City, Saqui along with her editors—Dorothy Beveridge and Judy Lamb—launched Ix Hmen Tzaco Ah Maya; a Maya Herbal Medicine Book.

 

Aurora Garcia Saqui

Aurora Garcia Saqui, Author, Ix Hmen U Tzaco Ah Maya

“It came from the love of culture; the love of my culture. It started a long time ago when I was sixteen years. After doing the art work and we had gained recognition for it, then that was where it all started.”

 

Reporter

“What are some of the illnesses that this medicinal book would address that would be everyday problem for our people?”

 

Aurora Garcia Saqui

“We have from small problems: diarrhea, cough, cold, diabetes—that is also a part of our problem in Belize—depression and a lot of good treatments in there.”

 

The content of the book includes the description and scientific names of the plants that are used for herbal medicinal purposes. The inspiration for the book came from her great uncle, who was also a healer in the village.

 

Aurora Garcia Saqui

“My great uncle Don Elijio Panti. He was considered at that time one of the best healers in Belize and Central America…at the time of his death, you know.”

 

Reporter

“So most of the experience that you got dealing with cultural medicinal practices came from your great uncle?”

 

Elijio Panti

Aurora Garcia Saqui

“Yes, a lot of it came from our uncle, but it is also part of our lives because when I was a little girl, my mother usually treats us with a lot of herbs. I understand nowadays…when I grew up a little older, I understand that we had a lot of the knowledge; my mom had a lot of the plants knowledge because of my grandfather because he was also a healer. But by the time we grew up, he was not practicing his healing anymore because of his religion. When I first started, I never thought I would end up being the next healer. My idea was only to write it, but I guess he has a plan for me and I think only write something is too empty. You have to practice it; you have to live it.”

 

A Yucatec Maya who grew up in rural Belize, Saqui followed in the footsteps of her uncle and her father and has become a practicing herbal healer in her village. The book gives its readers a glimpse of the rich culture through Saqui’s experiences and helps to preserve the intangible cultural heritage of the Mayas.

 

Aurora Garcia Saqui

“I dedicate this book for the children of Belize because I feel that we don’t want to lose it and it is part of us. Why can’t we use it, make use of the lot of plants within our yard. We can even heal ourselves with it.”

 

The book is available online at Amazon as well as in the U.S. and at all book stores nationwide. Duane Moody for News Five.

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