Depending on the ailment, plants were boiled and used in herbal drinks and/or baths, eaten raw, snorted, smoked, or inserted into one of the body’s orifices. Common plants used for medicine include, but are not limited to, chili peppers, cacao , tobacco, agave, and the pitarilla tree.
In the Yucatan, for example, the ‘ahmen’ of the Maya people, some of whom were responsible for medicines and cures, became the new village priests. These are now known as the Maya (n) Shaman , and the reason why they are celebrated as great healers. The importance of the Shaman in today’s society cannot be overlooked.
Scholars have suggested a number of potential reasons for the downfall of Maya civilization in the southern lowlands, including overpopulation, environmental degradation, warfare, shifting trade routes and extended drought. What is certain is that the Mayans didn’t disappear in the aftermath of the collapse.
The Maya today number about six million people, making them the largest single block of indigenous peoples north of Peru. Some of the largest Maya groups are found in Mexico, the most important of these being the Yucatecs (300,000), the Tzotzil (120,000) and the Tzeltal (80,000).
The Maya have lived in Central America for many centuries. They are one of the many Precolumbian native peoples of Mesoamerica . In the past and today they occupy Guatemala, adjacent portions of Chiapas and Tabasco, the whole of the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, and the western edges of Honduras and Salvador.
Maya mathematics constituted the most sophisticated mathematical system ever developed in the Americas. The Maya counting system required only three symbols: a dot representing a value of one, a bar representing five, and a shell representing zero.
Blood was viewed as a potent source of nourishment for the Maya deities, and the sacrifice of a living creature was a powerful blood offering. By extension, the sacrifice of a human life was the ultimate offering of blood to the gods, and the most important Maya rituals culminated in human sacrifice .
The Yucatec Maya believed that there were different routes after death . The Maya believe that the soul is bound to the body at birth. Only death or sickness can part the body and soul, with death being the permanent parting. To them, there is an afterlife that the soul reaches after death .
The ancient Maya civilization was formed by members of this group, and today’s Maya are generally descended from people who lived within that historical civilization. Today they inhabit southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras.
Several Spanish expeditions followed in 1517 and 1519, making landfall on various parts of the Yucatán coast. The Spanish conquest of the Maya was a prolonged affair; the Maya kingdoms resisted integration into the Spanish Empire with such tenacity that their defeat took almost two centuries.
Including Maya and other indigenous Latin Americans in the broader Latino ethnicity complies with the concept (both popular and official) that Latino refers to people of Latin American or Hispanic heritage, thus assumed to share certain historical experiences and points of culture regardless of race, ethnicity or