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Curandera the Healer is a special gifted person who knows the healing powers of the Earth Throughout time there have been people who have understood the mysterious forces of nature and found ways to use its resources for healing In earlier times people did not have sophisticated pharmacies but they knew which herbs or minerals to use in order to treat ailments In an age of high-tech highly specialized medicine the ancient healing arts of Curanderismo are an attractive alternative When they are ill Mexican-Americans in the southwestern states often prefer to visit the curandero--the tradtional healer-- who uses herbs aromas message and rituals to treat the ills of their body mind and spirit It is a much more personal approach to treating illness -complex but not necessarily scientific--and one that modern health care professionals in the region are now exploring-and in some cases embracing-as a healing tool CURANDERISMO Curanderismo is the art of folk healing by a curandero the healer par excellence in the folk medicineqv practiced by Texas Hispanics Healers can be either male or female and may even specialize in their practice The three most common types of curanderos are the yerbero herbalist the partera midwife and the sabador masseur Though the curandero has the skill to treat a wide variety of illnesses he is the only healer in the culture who can treat mal puesto illnesses caused by witchcraft He is thought to have been given a don de Dios a gift from God to heal the sick and he learns his healing art through apprenticeship under another curandero or a spiritual manifestation His chief adversary in the struggle between good and evil is Satan and those who have made secret pacts with him-the brujos or brujas witches Along with the treatment of mal puesto curanderos also treat mal de ojo the evil eye and susto loss of spirit Typically the curandero works on three levels the
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