Purifying and Blessing Plants with Fire and Water

Once the permission is gained and part of the plant is taken, the Shaman continues by blessing the plants, which consists of purifying the parts of the plant that are going to be used to treat a physical or spiritual illness (leaves, flowers, roots, stem…). He puts the selected parts of the plants in a pot of water which is heated by a fire of aromatic woods, such as, ceder (Cedrela odorata), tubus and quitirri. The plants are taken in his hands and he offers a prayer.

Purifying Plants by Burial

Some plants, due to their medicinal characteristics, need to go through a burial process in order to extract the healing properties. For this process, the Shaman places a handful of the medicinal plant in a hole lined with other large leaves so that the medicinal plants aren’t in contact with the soil. The medicinal plants are covered by more leaves and then the holeis filled in. The next day, a liquid released from the medicinal plant is found in the bottom of the hole. This liquid is collected as the medicine.

Drying the Plants

Once the plants have been collected in the correct moon phase and at the right time of day, the Shaman has communicated with and gained permission from the plants, and he has conducted the appropriate purifying ceremony, the plants should then be preserved for future use. They are dried.

The plants are simply set out during the day to dry in the shade; they cannot be dried in direct sunlight. Then, the plants are left out one night to be covered with dew. This process helps the plant resist mold and mildew during storage.

Three Laws of Spiritual Healing with Plants

In Huetar traditional herbal medicine, there are three basic laws to be followed. If a person doesn’t know these laws, he or she doesn’t know the spiritual importance of plants in the healing process.

The Law of Similar Form

Cultivating the Plants

For the Huetar people, there are three ways plants can be cultivated.

1) Some are planted by The Creator

These are the plants that grow in an area after it has been cleared down to bare soil. Everything that grows in that area in the following few month is considered to be sacred and pure because it was planted by the hand of The Creator.

2) Some are planted by animals

These plants are dispersed by animals by way of their bodies and excrement.

3) Some are planted by humans


What is an illness?

Illnesses are caused by a spirit that alters our body in different ways. For example, if someone comes across a rotting carcass, the spirit from that carcass penetrates the person’s body and makes him or her vomit.

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