4 Ways Our Ancestors Treated Anxiety

4 Ways Our Ancestors Treated Anxiety

If we look at the diverse healing traditions across Latin America there is a unifying theme, when the physical body is ailing you also have to heal the spirit. The approach to healing anxiety was no different. Let's take a look at 5 remedios and healing modalities traditionally used to treat anxiety. 


Curanderos/as were not only well-versed in the physical actions of a plant (the effect it has on the body) they also understood and would tap into its spiritual properties. Like humans, plants were seen as holistic beings that operated in the physical and spiritual realm. A far cry from modern-day science where plants are seen as a sum total of their chemical components. With this approach the goal is to extract and study individual chemicals rather than looking at the plant as a whole.  Woman gathering medicinal plants from a garden


Limpieza de Huevo

Curandera cleansing a person by rubbing an egg over their head. Separate image of a cracked egg in a glass.  Healers would rub an egg all over the body of the afflicted patient. The egg absorbed the negative energy that had made its way into the soul. Limpiezas de huevo were used in many cases to cure Mal de Ojo (evil eye). The healer then cracked the egg into a glass and read the patterns of the egg whites and yolk, this gave them insights into the severity of the illness.


Muñeca Quitapenas

In Guatemala, muñeca quitapenas, were used to help unburden people of their worries before going to sleep. It was a way to treat nervios and other conditions that caused excessive worrying and ruminating.  7 small colorful handmade dolls spread over a person's hand



Curandera cleansing a person using smoke and a feather to spread the smoke. Curanderos/as used plant and tree resin smoke to heal the spirit, expand the mind and for protection. This sacred smoke was also used as an offering and means of communication with ancestors, the land and all the beings living in it (trees, mountains, animals) and even celestial bodies. Tapping into their plant wisdom, a healer knew exactly which plant to turn to based on their patients' condition. Copal would be used to expand consciousness, eucalyptus for clarity and peace, cinnamon for protection and so on.


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