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Curanderismo: Traditional Healing Using Plants

University of New Mexico via Coursera


As one of four courses on Curanderismo, the art of Hispanic/Latino traditional medicine, this course focuses specifically on the use of plants in traditional healing. As an educational and cultural platform, this course will share the history, influences, and contributions of traditional medicine. Trained traditional healers will share their knowledge of the healing properties of plants commonly found in the Southwestern United States and Mexico through practical applications that can still be used today.

Learners will not become certified traditional healers at the completion of this course but will be able apply basic principles or traditional medicine to approach health and illnesses. They will become familiar specifically with the use of plants for the digestive and nervous systems; how to prepare tinctures and microdosis for healing; how to use juice therapy and geotherapy (clay combined with plants) for treatments; and the use of herbal oils and herbal smoke for healing.

Future Curanderismo courses include:
Traditional Healing of the Body: Intestinal blockage empacho, firecupping ventosas, and hydrotherapy (healing with water)
Traditional Healing of the Mind, Energy and Spirit: Sweatlodge Temazcal, Energetic/Spiritual cleansings Limpias, and Laugh therapy risaterapia.
Global and Cultural Influences of Traditional Healing: African tradition, Afro Latino from Cuba and Puerto Rico, Native American spiritual cleansings and Mayan acupuncture.

Curanderismo: The Art of Traditional Medicine without Borders by Eliseo Torres

Curandero: Traditional Healers of Mexico and the Southwest by Eliseo Torres with Imanol Miranda

Where to buy:

Curandero: A life in Mexican Folk Healing by Eliseo Torres & Tim Sawyer

Healing with Herbs & Rituals: A Mexican Tradition, Eliseo Torres, edited by Tim Sawyer

Where to buy:


  • Introduction to Curanderismo: The Art of Traditional Medicine, Interviews with Traditional Healers.
    • In this module, students will learn basic concepts about traditional medicine. They will view interviews on Curanderismo from scholars, Drs. Eliseo “Cheo” Torres and Arturo Ornelas and curanderas Tonita Gonzales and Rita Navarrete.
  • Plants of the Southwest, Medicinal Plants for the Digestive System.
    • The second module discusses the origin of plants of the Southwest and their usage for the digestive system. In traditional medicine, herbs and plants can restore and cure illnesses and improve a healthy life style.
  • Medicinal Plants for the Nervous System, Tinctures and Microdosis.
    • Leticia will demonstrate how to apply plants for the nervous system, Tonita will show the preparation of some alcohol-based tinctures and water-based microdosis, and the ingredients involved in the preparation and a proper usage of them.
  • Juice Therapy | Jugoterapia, Geotherapy
    • Rita and Tonita offer a combination of fruits, plants, seeds and water to enhance the body’s health by means of activating energy, metabolism, enhancing the immunologic system and increasing antioxidation. Tonita demonstrates Geotherapy as a healing practice and the combination of clay and plants for a number of illnesses.
  • Healing with Herbal Oils, Herbal Smoke for Healing.
    • Healers demonstrate body therapy using herbal oils. Students will learn to origin of Moxa usage and the different types of it. Professor Torres concludes the course by summarizing the modules.

Taught by

Eliseo (Cheo) Torres


4.7 rating at Coursera based on 211 ratings

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