Introduction

How many of us have taken time in our life to stop and contemplate a sunset or the simple, astounding beauty of a flower at our side. With this compilation of information about the medicinal plants used by the Huetar indigenous people, a culture that has been here in our territory for ages, we can come to appreciate the living and non-living world that surrounds us. Thanks to the spiritual teachings about the significance of medicinal plans and the beings that contribute to our physical, mental, and spiritual equilibrium our tangible and in-tangible connection becomes evident.

What are medicinal plants in the Huetar Culture?

They are allies to humanity because they sacrifice themselves for the well being of men, women, children and animals. According to Huetar indigenous belief, plants are divided into five major groups: curative medicinal plants, preventative medicinal plants, aromatic plants, edible plants, and toxic plants.

Collection Methods for the Medicinal Plants

In the indigenous culture, respect for other living beings is very much a part of their way of thinking and spiritual life. Plants have an important role in their daily life, because it is from plants that Huetar people obtain a wide variety of products. Plants provide food, materials for traditional art and ceremonies, and medicines for physical and spiritual healing.

The Four Parts of a Day and Their Importance for Plant Collection

For the Huetar people, the day consists of four different times of day. The time of day is an important factor when collecting plants for medicinal use.

Why is this important?

Plants have different energy states, depending on the time of day in which they are collected. Medicinal plants are collected throughout the whole day, but different plants are collected at different times of the day, depending on the plant and the illness to be treated. When healing a person, his or her birthday and time of birth should also be considered when the Shaman decides what time of day to collect and prepare the medicinal plants.

Asking the Plants for Permission

Plants, like other living creatures, have a spirit, emotions, and feelings that affect their physical and spiritual well being. Before taking part of a plant, or a sapling, the Shaman asks for permission and tells the plant how he is going to use what he takes. If he doesn’t do this, the mother plant will die. The Shaman goes through a prayer ritual in order to communicate with the plant. Once he gets the plant’s permission, he also receives the plant’s energy and curative properties.

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