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Aztec Medical Practices And Beliefs Essay

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For this paper I will be discussing and comparing the medical practices and belief system surrounding medicine in the Maya and Aztec cultures. This will be accomplished through a discussion of the archaeological evidence at ancient sites, testimony from the Spanish conquerors who were witness to these practices and modern medical practices in rural areas of Mesoamerica that have persisted from ancient times to the present day. These methods have been tested and found to be somewhat effective in treating a wide range of ailments and are still useful today. (CITE)

The Maya understanding of medicine comes from a close relationship with the natural world around them. The Mayan empire stretched from ------to----- and included a vast and varied landscape encompassing several ecosystems and climates. This meant that there were a plethora of natural threats and sicknesses, but also a great access to herbal remedies. The members of the group responsible for healing
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When choosing the type of plant to be used to treat someone, ah men would select a plant based on the designation of the illness of either hot or cold and the "color" of the sickness. The Maya held that the ingestion of a hot food with a cold drink or any type of mixture of hot and cold would upset the digestive system and therefore the internal balance of the person. Some examples of foods designated as hot would be ginger, chili peppers, and onions or any other food with a very strong taste. A cold food would literally be any food that is eaten cold such as milk or cheese. However, when a choosing herbs to treat an illness the opposite is true. For example, a plant designated as cold would be used to treat a hot sickness and vice versa. Examples of hot diseases are fever and vomiting, cold diseases include coma, and cramps. CITE These methods were used in tandem with fasting, sweating and purging harmful substances out of the
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