Healing Plants And Herbs

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Datura is used in portions as a primitive anesthetic, as a salve for bruises and wounds and as such a potent concentrated plant it is also utilized by evil people for bad purposes. Datura was harvested and dried by the Spanish and Indian witches so they had always some on hand when it was needed.

Datura is very powerful and consumed only in small portions for example against witchcraft, but many Navajo physicians try to avoid prescribing it. Some administer it to everyone who feels strong enough to take. The majority thinks it is a plant not to underestimate and be careful with. In a small area of Navajoland for example practitioners engage in datura divination by using the plant to find lost objects and trace thieves. Administered to a young boy who chew it with the intention to find a string of beads he went crazy and searched for it in the mud of a farm.

He finally got it and immediately had to take a remedy to recover what happened then.

The best known witch and herb doctor in the Santa Fe district around the turn of the 20th century was Dolores La Penca. She was a foster child, left her family in her late teens and lived in a small adobe. She often passed through mountains for several weeks to collect plants and herbs. Once she frightened a young woman, that was to be married, by a little soap spell, but it wasn't that serious. The story continues as follows: the bride's brother and cousin were absent from the wedding ceremony sitting at a campfire. Suddenly they heard an owl and the cousin knew it was Dolores and so he killed the animal. A few days later Dolores La Penca was found dead lying in the same position the owl was.

In the Southwest you distinguish between curanderos and witch doctors. Curanderos don't refer to black magic and their work progress is based on confidence. The best known healer was Don Pedro Jaramillo. Many people looked him up. Once he tried to undo a bewitchment but he failed. The young woman under the spell later died. That was one of the few times he wasn't successful in curing a patient. Witch doctors combine curing and black magic and they want to be paid for their work unlike the curanderos. But the strong belief that often only witch doctors are able to help persists although many people have fear in consulting them. Some tough spells are said can only be ended by killing another witch. Sometimes the witch who spoke out the curse is the only one to expel the evil. Another example of curing follows: a boy was crying that he was pierced with needles. A so called smart witch was consulted. She wanted to keep it secret towards the other witches. The boy had to stay with her, the house completely locked. Then he drank a broth of sunflowers and herbs. At night there were noises as if someone tried to enter the house but nothing happened. The third day the boy's father came and collected his cured son.

There are many ways for the curer to remove a hex and even if herbalism is twilighted it should be used on because nature gives us such a mass of exotic plants you can work with.