How Did Ancient Civilisations All Over The World Learn The Cures For Illnesses?
Pharmaceutical companies today admit they are perplexed how ancients all over the planet were able to concoct medicinal compounds from natural sources. In the modern world, pharmaceutical companies need special equipment – although they have been illegally stealing concoctions from indigenous peoples for years.
Shamans in Latin America have been healing people using natural remedies from the mountains and the jungle for centuries. Known as cuanderismos, the healers, combine healing herbs with spiritual practices – and continue to effectively do so today. It baffled me as much as modern day biologists how our ancestors know which medicines would treat which illness.
To find out how ancients peoples knew how to mix effective medicinal concoctions, I went to see a spiritual healer from the Zapotec tribe who live in the mountain region of Oaxaca in Mexico. Mother Enriqueta, otherwise known as Don Quena, has been a cuanderismo for over 60 years and is one of the most respected healers in this part of the world. Here is what Don Quena had to say:
Where did the origins of ancient medicinal knowledge come from?
The ancient tradition I use comes from the Zapotec people, but the ancients learnt about medicines of the plants instinctively since the beginning of mankind. Everything comes from nature. No modern medicine uses nature in the same way.
Where did you learn the techniques to become a healer?
My grandmother was also a healer and showed me everything. She lived until 115 years. It is quite common for indigenous people to live over hundred. The first five years are the hardest and most dangerous for the Zapotec people, but once the child survive these most enduring years many of them live for a very long time. The reason for this is because they do not live in the pollution of the cities, eat healthy food from the land that has not been tainted with chemicals and take regular exercise as part of their day-to-day lives tending their farmland cattle and collecting wood.
How did the ancients know which plants were going to cure which illness?
It was intuitive. They had a very strong relationship with the plants and knew which were used for healing, which you could eat and which were poisonous. It was normal for the ancients to be attached with nature as they were in tune with the spiritual world. Living in the material world today, most of us have lost are natural instincts and have become detached from nature and ultimately ourselves.
How do you feel about the way modern society is fractured?
The reality in ancient times was everything was one and we are part of this everything. The ancients understood this. Today we are creating many different realities and it is difficult for me to accept that every day we stay ignorant to our true selves we are losing this connection with the earth and with each other. People today are lost and most people have lost really important values in life. People with money want more money, people with power want more power. Institution and politics has ripped the sense of community apart and subsequently the destruction of human beings.
Do you think we need to go back to the ways of the ancients?
The current ways of the world have to be destroyed so we can start again.
How do you think people of the modern world can look after mind, body and spirit?
One of the ways we can improve the standard of living is by learning to live in a community that is connected to Mother Earth, to live basic lives with only the things that Mother Earth gives you. We need to learn the values of life that are most important to us.
In Oaxaca poor people want more from life. It is common for them to go to America and return to the community with different ideas and another mentality that spreads like a virus. Eventually the old values are slowly dying out and the young people are turning their back on traditional values. It is a fight now to have more and more, to have what the neighbours have. In the fight to have all these material things you lose the important values of life; respect, values of family and society.
What are the history and origins of the Zapotec people?
The people from the mountains are called the people of the clouds. They lived in sacred places as they believed being higher in the mountains would bring them closer to the Gods. They lived with Mother Earth and made offerings because Mother Earth had given everything to them. There are very scared places where people gathered in the mountains, but nowadays people believe they are witches who meet to cast bad spells.
What are the spiritual beliefs of the Zapotec?
The cuanderismos protect the community. When it has not rained for a while and the land needs water the healers will go into the mountains to pray for water. As soon as they start off into the mountains it starts raining. They have not lost the belief in faith because they believe that faith can bring a lot of miracles. Communities are still very united so they share everything and help each other. If somebody is dying for example, everybody comes to visit to help the family as much as the person who is dying.
Fiestas are still very important to the community as is giving to receive. When somebody in the community has nothing you give to them and in other times you receive from others. In a dogmatic way, when there is a wedding the couple make a list of items that are brought for them and when the time comes you give back to them something of equal value. The communities in the mountains still practice this.
They also continue to practice the ancient rituals to Mother Earth. Firstly everybody in the community comes together and decide what they really need. Then they ask Mother Earth, for health, water, food. In return for their request they give offerings of fruits, corn other foodstuffs as well as the blood of animals. Everything that came from Mother Earth they give back to Mother Earth.
What is magical about the ancient Zapotec people?
When the Zapotecs were under attack during the rebellion of the 20th Century, the Zapotec transformed into whatever animal they were born in. (Like the Chinese the Zapotec are associated with a specific animal spirit that protects them depending on what time of the year they are born.) When the soldiers went into the mountains they first had to fight against snakes and jaguars were not able to pass into the mountain. Subsequently the Zapotec were not defeated and still exist today.
So there you have it. Our ancient ancestors were so in tune with nature they could effectively communicate with plants using intuition. Western society is killing our natural ability to use and trust our instinct. Now more people are waking up to the true power of humankind, the general public can find a way to take the power back and make the world a better place to live rather than the prison planet the corrupt elite are building around us.
You can learn more about ancient medicines in my book, Journeys To Ancient World’s: What Modern Man Can Learn From Ancient Civilisations.