Lack of interest threatens traditional Maya medicine, according to specialist

(Photo: yucantalamano.com)

Merida, Yucatan, (November 06, 2021).- “Lack of interest, deforestation, destruction of ecosystems and the undervaluation of the Maya culture threaten the knowledge of traditional Maya medicine”, declared Dr. Marina Vera Ku, a researcher at the Yucatan Center for Scientific Research (CICY). 

Traditional medicine is used by three-quarters of the world’s population and only a quarter uses patent medicine. Furthermore, in developing countries, 80 percent of the population uses it; however much of this information is currently being lost, the specialist warned. 

On November 4th, the professor of the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) gave the conference “Traditional Maya medicine from a scientific perspective.” 

According to the doctor in Plant Sciences and Biotechnology, knowledge of medicinal is being lost due to lack of interest, the influence of new ideologies, and undervaluation of the Maya culture. 

“For example, there are those who prefer to buy a coffee in a certain international coffee shop known with a green logo when I could buy an organic coffee from Chiapas,” she stressed. 

Also, he indicated that this ancestral knowledge is lost due to deforestation and the destruction of ecosystems. “Many times the traditional doctors return to collect a medicinal plant in a field and now it is a parking lot, now they have to go further into the mountains to look for the plants,” she said. 

So, she stressed, by destroying ecosystems, it has to prepare its formulas without some plants that are becoming increasingly difficult to find, and it is losing effectiveness; in the end, the original formula is completely lost. 

Social imbalance 

For Vera Ku, globalization and access to new technologies also influence the valuation of the Maya culture, however, she emphasized that indigenous communities are the depositaries of the herbal tradition and guardians of plants and raw materials. 

However, she indicated that pharmaceutical companies come to the Maya peoples to do research on their knowledge with plants, they ask them how they work with them, but then they do not have access to many pharmaceutical products derived from their medicinal plants made by developed countries due to their high price. “There is a social imbalance that we have to address in the best possible way, as Maya people we are known internationally and everyone knows that we are rich in our cultural values, but this contrasts with the poverty that exists in many communities”; sentenced. 

The Yucatan Times Newsroom



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