from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A man who practices folk medicine; an herb doctor.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A traditional Central American healer
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a Mexican man who practices healing techniques inherited from the Mayans
A curandero is a white witch, who practices beneficial magic.
The curandero was a large man with a smooth face and a deliberate manner.
60Today, the word "curandero" brings to mind images of a healer working in long-forgotten traditions, dispensing herbal remedies, and curing curious ailments such as "evil eye" and "susto" by way of magic and ritual.
But in the day-to-day world of colonial medicine, a curandero was not so clearly or narrowly defined.
Note 85: Nóemi Quezada, Enfermedad y maleficio: el curandero in el México colonial (México: UNAM, 1989), p. 107; Ruiz de Alarcón, p. 7; see also Serge Gruzinski's comments on sources and methodology in The Conquest of Mexico, pp. 305 – 8. back
The novice could acquire all sorts of medical expertise empirically by working alongside the barber-surgeon, the partera, and the curandero.
Note 12: Gonzalo Aguirre Beltran, Medicina y magia: El proceso de aculturación en la estructura colonial (México: Instituto Nacional Indigenista, 1963); Neomí Quezada, Enfermedad y malefación, el curandero en el México colonial (México: UNAM, 1989). back
But the repertoire of the curandero did not belong exclusively to the realm of the supernatural; most healers combined these practices with the standard therapeutic techniques of the day, such as bloodletting, purging, bathing, and massage.
These peculiar objects could be sucked out — the curandero used his or her mouth to do this — of any part of a patient's body, but most common was from the navel or somewhere on the face. 94 The healing methods of the indigenous curandero, at least during the first hundred years of the colonial period, had changed very little since the days of their ancestors.
In 1784, José Antonio Hernández, a Spaniard, was arrested on charges of curandero supersticioso.
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