She Wrote The Book On Maya Medicine

Today saw the launch of the first ever book on Maya Herbal Medicine. It is a straightforward guide to all the medicinal secrets of the ancient Maya. It was authored by a well-known Maya cultural revivalist, Aurora Garcia Saqui. She launched the book today at the Image Factory in Belize City and Emanuel Pech was there to find out more.

This assortment of herbal medicines were on display today at a local book launch. They are traditional Mayan remedies for diabetes, common cold, heart burn, skin rash and just about anything else you can think of.

It is centuries of medicinal knowledge passed on through the generations are all encapsulated in this one book.

The author Aurora Garcia Saqui, is definitely no stranger to Belize. In 2013 she launched her first book- which focused on traditional Mayan cuisine.

She is also a well-known Maya craftswoman and slate carver. Now while Garcia has always had an enduring interest in keeping her culture alive, this piece on traditional Mayan medicine was particularly close to her heart because it was inspired by her late Great uncle.

Aurora Saqui- Maya Healer/Author
"When I started to learn from my uncle, I was thinking that I was only going to write, but he had a plan for me which I didn't know. When he was dying in bed a few week before he died, he handed me his healing bag which contained his crystal balls. After he handed me that bag I went back to my village where I now live, in Maya Center and a few weeks later I was dreaming him and my dreams is almost true, because I can hear him talking to me and he said 'mama, get up, this is your time now to heal the people.'"

And that is exactly what she did. Now with the help of her editors at Producciones de la Hamaca, she hopes to share her knowledge with others in the community.

Judy Lumb- Editor, Producciones de la Hamaca
"The idea behind all the books we do is to make things that are scientifically accurate, use for the scientist, but available, accessible by the general public. Aurora's biggest concern is passing the information unto the next generations. So that would be ours as well."

Dorothy Beveridge- Assistant Editor, Producciones de la Hamaca
"The traditional knowledge, the culture from Aurora is the healing. The linguistic is using the local names for the plants, the local terms, the Mayan terms - she has other local names too and then incorporating this local knowledge of names of plants with the scientific names that can be utilized around the world, because science has one name for a plant and every culture has another name or 6 names for the same plant. So this way the scientist can learn about local knowledge and local people can understand that their knowledge is important too."

Aurora Saqui- Maya Healer/Author
"I am very happy that you all are here today and I feel I am celebrating today with all of you together. For me I feel very accomplished today, because this is a dream I have been having from a long time."

With this work and others like it, Aurora hopes to bridge an ever widening gap between the modern and ancestral cultures. Reporting for 7 news Emanuel Pech.

The book is available at a retail price of $60 at every book store country wide and is also available for purchase on Amazon.

Channel 7


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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