Since the dawn of human life on earth, indigenous peoples in South America have honored Pacha Mama, Mother Nature. They use and preserve the knowledge about the workings of her powers in order to use it in a meaningful way. Healers use fruits, vegetables and plants in unique compositions. They interpret the wind, sun, water and earth like sailors once interpreted the stars in the sky. With their recipes, the wise healers treat even the worst diseases in a natural way. In their medicine, each plant is considered a valuable living being with its own soul: From the weeds along paths to the trees in the jungle.
For some of the indigenous peoples of present-day Colombia, the mountain ranges of the Andes are the heart of the world. Their foothills extend to the sandy beaches of the Caribbean in the north of the country. At the highest points, the mountain peaks of the Sierra Nevada rise up to 5,000 meters into the sky. At the foot, dense tropical rainforest surrounds the mountains and their mystical cloud forests. In the savannahs, however, temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius prevail. An invisible line cuts off the areas of the oldest indigenous peoples from the rest of the world. It is impossible for outsiders to enter these places. It is said that the power of Pacha Mama protects the sacred sites of her ancestors. In the rainforests, people grow maize, beans, pumpkins, oats, manioc and potatoes, ecologically and sustainably. Papayas, guavas and avocados thrive in the savannah and wet forests. The tropical climate ensures that fruits such as mangosteen and pineapple are enriched with nutrients. For the indigenous people, these fruits and plants are the heart of their healing arts. The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial ingredients of many plants and fruits have been known here for thousands of years, and are used, for example, to balance the intestinal flora of humans.
With pineapple, the natives treat inflammation in the whole body. Mangosteen helps in healing rashes, liver problems and infections. Papaya cures intestinal problems. Aloe Vera is regarded as a sacred being for the natives, her juice is seen as an elixir of life. A plant that survives every dry season and can grow without roots is more powerful than any other.
The Spirituality of the Indians
In their greed, the conquistadors misunderstood the ancient knowledge of the indigenous peoples. They searched the Andes for secret treasures: Shimmering emeralds, jewelry made of pure gold and precious silver. In their quest, they slaughtered the South American indigenous population. They extracted without ever giving and violated the principles of universal equilibrium. Their zeal led to the creation of the myth of Eldorado: Northeast of today’s capital Bogotá and amidst a mountainous basin, the blue-green wet of an important sacred site still shines today: In the lake of Guatavita, indigenous peoples once crowned their kings. They gave the lake treasures that the conquistadors then desperately wanted to track down. Several times the conquerors tried to rid the holy lagoon of its water using a drain in order to search for the sunken treasures. This was all in vain: The universe protected the sacred lake and its interior. Thus, Pacha Mama – Mother Earth – taught the greedy a lesson that is misunderstood by many even today: Eldorado is not material. There are neither emeralds, gold nor silver. Eldorado is the valuable knowledge about the healing of body, mind and soul. Its medicine protects and preserves indigenous peoples like a treasure made of gold because they know that health and balance are the only important things in life. They pass on their knowledge from mouth to ear to their disciples. They use their naturopathy to do good to all beings. Few outsiders are ever invited into their world. Through humility and gratitude, some visitors are able to capture a few impressions of these healing arts, and may experience the unique combinations of plants, herbs and fruits that can help people in restoring their inner balance. They are obliged to protect it and give Mother Earth back.