The four pillars of the Huehuepahtli – the Great Mexica Medicine

by Nicola Dentico

Curanderism (or Curanderìa) is a holistic approach to well-being that was used in the pre-Columbian Americas and is still practiced. In fact it is also called “Traditional Mexican Medicine” or “Field Medicine”, or even “Traditional folk Medicine”.

The word Curanderism comes from the Spanish term “curandero” (or curandera) which indicates the popular healer with strongly shamanic traits, or whose culture rests on indigenous Cosmovisions.

Curanderism is a syncretic system, and treatments may vary based on the practitioner’s religious, ethnic or even tribal background. It has its roots in the Huehuepahtli (“great medicine” in nahuatl – Mexica language) but has been enriched by the Traditional Mediterranean Medicine brought by the Spanish and by the Traditional African Medicine imported with the sad slave market.

In this conference we will deepen:

  • The Nahui Ollin Teotl, or the Mexica philosophy and cosmology
  • The approach applied by curanderas and curanderos to health and medicine
  • The birth of modern Curanderism as a result of the meeting of three continents
  • What types of curanderas and curanderos exist in the indigenous vision
  • The methods of healing and spiritual training of the Mesoamerican populations
Diego Nicola Dentico bio

I am a yerbero and an ajkun (a practitioner of traditional Maya medicine).

My passions are ecology and traditional cultures, which find a natural connection in Curanderism and in the defense of ancestral territories and traditions, fundamental elements of the cultural identity of indigenous peoples. I have a degree in Educational Sciences and I received a naturopathic certificate with a research on the healing methods of the Huicholes, shamans of Mexico. In 2018, following a period of apprenticeship with a family of Mayan healers, I published the book “In the Garden of the Curanderas”.

Currently I continue my research with different masters of Mayan tradition living in an indigenous pueblo of Guatemala. Specifically I’m deepening those Tz’tujil and Quiché.