Numbers in Huetar indigenous medicine

Numbers are immersed in our daily lives and in our traditional medicine. Numbers play an important role in the process of healing with medicinal plants. There are five principle numbers for healing.

The number 13

Thirteen is one of the most important numbers because it represents the main thirteen points of the body. There are six parts on the left side of the body, six on the right side, and one for the head. The fundamental parts of the body are: the ankles, knees, hips, elbows, shoulders, wrists, and the head.

What do insects and animals represent for the Huetar people?

They are beings that have greater wisdom than humans. They perceive and communicate with God in a way that allows them to see and feel the things around them. They have a unique and heightened spiritual connection. Animals and insects represent a school from which humans can learn.

How are animals and insects employed in their traditional medicine?

These beings have substances and energies in their bodies that help cure and prevent illnesses, both physical and spiritual illnesses. Animals and insects play an important role in ceremonies as well.

Almost all animals have important healing properties, but there are some animals that are more important than others, due to the ease at which they can be obtained.


This animal, for the indigenous society, represents everything, and according to Don Juan Sanchez, it should be made the national bird for indigenous people.

The role of stones and clay in traditional Huetar medicine

Traditional medicine incorporates the concept that all things that surround us are beings which contain energy. This energy, which can be used to heal, is available to people who understand it and know how to use it.

In these few pages we’ve seen many different natural elements the the Huetar people use to cure afflictions, and the role of stones and clay cannot go unmentioned because in them we can find new concepts of spirituality for our health.


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