In Ecuador, “curanderos” (roughly translated: healers) are trusted by the people. They believe these people can dispel bad luck, bad omens – something doctors cannot cure.
Inside a small room in Quito, Ecuador, the BBC’s Heide Brandes is preparing for a healing session. An elderly woman, small in stature, holds a bunch of nettles in her hand, rubbing her head to toe. After only a few seconds, Brandes’ body felt like it was pricked and burning.
“Your energy is blocked. We are clearing it”, the Ecuadorian woman said as the pain continued to torment the “patient”.
What doctors can’t cure
Emma Lagla is one of the traditional healers in Ecuador. However, people like Lagla belong to a special group. They are better known as “limpiadores”, or “cleaners”. For centuries, they used sacred plants to treat a variety of ailments, including “bad luck” or to ward off “unclean”.
The necessary ingredients can be found in every market in the center of the capital. For example, lemongrass can be mixed with horchata (a beverage) to reduce inflammation. Or guayusa, a shrub, is used as a stimulant by sellers.
Here, you can also find some aromatic oils. The sellers swear they will make your “fun” last longer. Other stalls sell herbs typical of the Andes, such as rue, which helps support the menstrual cycle.
Lagla used stinging nettle to cleanse a patient.
But those medicinal plants aren’t the most interesting thing about Quito. Marcos Peralvo, a local guide, takes Brandes to a store. In it, long lines of women are waiting to cleanse their souls, dispel bad energy and stress.
“It’s ancestral magic, not natural medicine. They come here to cure diseases that doctors can’t cure. The herbs they use have the effect of absorbing bad energy. The people here believe in this. there”Peralvo said.
While adults want to cleanse their souls, mothers holding their newborn babies in their arms want the healer to help “preserve the pure light” for them.
The stinging stinging nettle mentioned above should not be used by children. Instead, Emma Lagla patted the baby with a bunch of soft herbs. Then she put a berry necklace on it for protection.
Many mothers take their children to traditional healers to protect the pure light.
Lagla continued to stroke the baby with rose petals that had been soaked in rose oil earlier. It helps to calm the skin and transmit energy better. The baby stopped crying and fell asleep in the mother’s arms.
Peralvo says: “Now, she will make herbal tea for the mother. The mother has to drink because she is still breastfeeding.”
Traditional healers like Lagla not only know how to cleanse the soul. A limpiadores can resolve family conflicts, for example when a husband shows signs of being unfaithful. They also know how to cast love spells, find lost objects or help students successfully complete tests. Some others are said to have the ability to summon spirits.
Belief in this traditional healing is deeply rooted in the minds of the people of the Andes. However, in urban areas, people like Lagla are losing ground.
In some hospitals, limpiadores are still employed. They “cleanse” the patient and the doctors do the real work. There is a lot of evidence that belief also helps in healing. That’s how placebos are used in modern medicine. And people like Lagla can support doctors with spiritual work.
Without faith, the limpiadores are also difficult to cure.
Peralvo again grew up in the rural highlands, north of Quito. He has faith in herbs and limpiadores. Once, after hearing the noise of the parade, Peralvo’s 2-year-old daughter got scared, fell ill and couldn’t stop crying. His wife doesn’t believe in limpiadores but Peralvo firmly convinces her.
“After she was cleaned, the healer said she would sleep for at least 3 hours. My baby never naps. But that day, she fell asleep. After she woke up, she went home by herself. room.
You have to have faith for the method to work. The people from the city don’t believe it.”I said.
According to Zing
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