Folk healing still evident

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

The art of Mexican folk healing is still evident in today’s culture, said Eliseo “Cheo” Torres, student affairs vice president at the University of New Mexico, during a seminar he presented Tuesday at Eastern New Mexico University.

Part of the Hispanic culture, curanderismo is a form of folk healing that includes such techniques as herbal medicine, healing rituals and psychic healing.

Torres said he has spent 25 years studying curanderismo, including significant time working with curanderos in Mexico. He said he utilizes his knowledge of healing arts to help family and friends, but is not a practicing curandero himself.

“Psychology is so important in the healing,” Torres said. “Touching and sharing is all part of the healing process.”

Torres said as a small child his mother used a garlic clove to heal his earache. When he went to school, he was made fun of, he said. The next day he placed the clove of garlic under a rock before school and put it back in after school before his return home.

“This I did out of respect for my mother,” Torres said.

ENMU junior Jessica Martinez said curanderismo is part of her family’s belief and culture, she said. Martinez said she learned a lot of new things about the various plants and herbs that can be used for healing from Torres.

Garlic, oranges and onions are used as healing property, according to Torres. Other plants, such as aloe vera and tepezcohuite, can be used to treat burns and cuts.

Another plant, the chaya, can help control diabetes, he said.

Aromatic plants such as rosemary can be used to sweep away negative vibrations after a traumatic experience and bring the soul back into the body, Torres said.

Torres has learned a few tricks in his travels and experiences. One is to tell troubles to a set of dolls in a box. The dolls then carry the burdens, Torres said.

Another practice used to lessen one’s troubles is to take a red ribbon about two feet long and tie knots in a certain order with the knots signifying problems, Torres said. In the end it will be a circle that can be put in a jar and buried, “therefore burying your troubles,” said Torres.