Due to the transculturization and the use of new technologies, the traditional practice of Mayan doctors could disappear in a few years, since even the new ethnic generations do not show great interest in learning that knowledge, inherited for generations.
“It is unfortunate that the traditional medicine of the town is disappearing, so it is important that the authorities rescue this knowledge so that there is more interest in this ancestral practice,” says Leydi Lucely Dorantes Cob, who is a herbalist and director of the Herbalist Center of Yaxcabá municipality, in the east of the state.
Until a few years ago, the doctor says, in Yucatán about 130 Mayan doctors worked, even with acknowledgments from the health sector, but in recent years that number has declined, because some of them have already died.
Currently, the herbalist center has a registry of 40 certified Mayan doctors, most of whom are older adults and only three are under 35 years old.
“Therefore, we have formed a network where we exchange information, with the support of the Yucatan Ministry of Health and the Institute for the Development of the Mayan Culture (Indemaya), seeking to encourage and continue teaching traditional Mayan medicine,” says Leydi Lucely .
The doctor considers that it is necessary to find that the new generations of Yucatan and the youth of municipalities and rural communities are interested in learning about medicinal plants and the naturist cure.
“The new generations almost don’t believe [en esta medicina] and that is why it is urgent to seek mechanisms to attract them to this instruction, this learning, because, otherwise, over the years it will be lost, ”he warns.
The herbalist Leydi Lucely says that the patient usually improves in two days.
Among other things, the doctor explains that to make traditional Mayan medicine more attractive and innovative, the Yaxcabá Herbalist Center offers 50 medications to cure more than 100 types of diseases, in addition to natural treatments based on creams, ointments, syrups, soaps and shampoos, which are obtained from the same botanical garden.
The profession of Leydi Lucely Dorantes Cob is qualified as a naturopathic doctor, with a broader medical training and is even known in the eastern, southern and central regions of the state for her wisdom in herbalism, as well as in the preparation of medications based on Mayan herbs, for the cure of different diseases.
The 25-year-old Mayan doctor recalls that as a child she did not intend to devote herself to traditional medicine, but began with “a kind of feeling or premonition.” Motivated by her grandfather, she was finally interested in learning card reading, knowledge of plants and their healing attributes, among other disciplines.
Some time later, the young woman began to study nursing, first aid and truncated the career of Business Management for focusing on Mayan medicine. Now he is a neuropathic doctor, traditional Mayan doctor, midwife and xmen (ix men, doctor or sorcerer) as the Mayan ethnic groups usually identify it.
In life, his grandfather could see how his granddaughter was following his advice and knowledge to help the Mayan people, the most unprotected and who lives in very remote communities, where the arrival of medical services, even basic ones, is difficult.
The Secretary of Health of the state has highlighted the knowledge of the doctor, as well as the Center for Scientific Research of Yucatan (CICY), the same Secretariat of Agriculture the UMAE (of the IMSS), the Secretariat of Economic Development of the state government and the Indemaya, an agency that addresses issues related to the ethnic groups of Yucatan.
“A single plant can cure you, if it is fresh,” he says, while explaining that she herself is responsible for preparing and mixing the herbs to increase doses, and reveals that she has experienced healing in many cases.
Leydi Lucely says that among the conditions she attends most are nervous colitis, fluid retention, nerve disorders, kidney problems, headaches, vomiting and arthritis.
The woman is also the director of the Botanical Garden of Yaxcabá, located in a reserve of 40 hectares, where about 200 species of plants are cultivated, from which they obtain enough to make the medicines.
“Today, all kinds of people seek alternative medicine, because it not only heals the physical, but also the mind and spirit,” says Leydi, although he acknowledges that many people use traditional medicine as a business, which creates distrust between the people who come to that kind of attention.
In the Herbalist Center of Yaxcabá, they have about 200 plants with healing properties, and in part of the botanical garden another 160 varieties of plants that serve them for different medicines.
They have also created a line of 50 products, including soaps, creams, syrups, capsules, teas, baths, tinctures (the plant soaked in alcohol), shampoo with aloe and ointments, among others.
The Mayan doctor says that there are some difficult-to-get plants such as belladonna, which she takes care of with special care, since – he points out – is a plant that can help cure some types of cancer that are not advanced or aggressive.
Between the consultations, Lucely usually read the tarot cards to her patients and thus begins to diagnose the ills that the person has. For that reading and consultation, prices vary between 150, 300 and up to 500 pesos, depending on the condition in question. It indicates that through the letters the symptoms that patients face can appear, from the headache, to the kidney stone, among others.
Unlike her grandparents, she uses social networks to make herself known and also to promote what is naturopathic medicine, Mayan herbalism and herbs based on herbs.
Lucely affirms that, in general, after consulting and taking naturopathic medicines, the patients show improvement in two days of the evil that afflicted them; However, he emphasizes that the charge to patients and the cost of the medicine has to be moderate, because they are mostly people with limited resources.
The Herbalist Center of Yaxcabá was founded in 1993 and was intended to bring together midwives, leftovers and hosts. His grandfather, who was a traditional doctor (ac men, in Mayan language), continued to treat him and took over the place for 26 years until he died.
Leydi Lucely proudly presumes that people from New York, Canada and Russia have come to take courses in naturopathic medicine in Yaxcabá, and have bought her products. He has also received students from Spain and Brazil, as well as from Oaxaca and Puebla.
As a way of preserving the knowledge in naturist and Mayan medicine that he inherited from his grandparents, he is currently teaching his sister Rubí and another of his relatives, named Chucho, who have shown interest in learning everything about naturist medicine.
“It is necessary that this knowledge continue to be transmitted from generation to generation and prevent traditional Mayan medicine from being forgotten,” he concludes.