Xochipilli (1) was considered one of the more benevolent of the Mesoamerican deities and he was popular amongst the chinampa dwellers to the south of Tenochtitlan. This statue was excavated near Tlalmanalco (2) in the shadow of the volcano Iztaccihuatl (3) and has been registered as part of the collection of the National Museum of Anthropology since 1882. Sacrifices to him generally consisted of garlands … Continue reading Xochipilli. The Prince of Flowers
Even though anthropological studies are often undertaken there are no truly accurate records of the native use of wild plants. The daily foods of indigenous peoples are usually considered a food of low social status and are often overlooked by peoples of a “developing” society, in particular those people of the society doing the developing. This was the case in Mexico where some plants were … Continue reading Quelites
I am asked this question every time I mention the word. Curanderismo is often described (somewhat disparagingly I feel) as “Mexican folk medicine”. I feel that the term folk medicine is used for the lack of a better term and totally undervalues this system of healing, for this is what it is. The word curandero (curandera if the practitioner is female) is derived from “curar” … Continue reading What is Curanderismo?
The Mesoamerican deity Huitzilopochtli was the patron god of the Mexican people and is the primary God of War (and the Sun) in the Aztec pantheon. The legend goes that after he was betrayed by a nephew he killed him and removed his heart. This heart was left on an island in the middle of Lake Texcoco and, like many creation legends involving plants, from the rocks upon … Continue reading Huitzilopochtli, Tenochtitlan and the Opuntia Cactus
As is common in this age of rushing headlong into the future the old ways are being brushed aside for the microwave generation. Whether through misguided philanthropy or sheer rampant greed our agriculture and food culture often suffers and historical cultural knowledge and richness is lost. This is currently the case with the worlds most important grain, maize. Through the interference by large companies such … Continue reading Proteger la tortilla (Protect the Tortilla)
Until wheat was introduced to the Americas the primary grain was (and still is really) corn. Corn, botanically known as Zea mays is native to Mexico and there are hundreds of species in a wide range of colours each with slightly different nutritional values. It is the nutritional value of corn that is the most interesting. Corn can be difficult to digest and a kernel of corn … Continue reading Nixtamal
The amaranth species is used for its seed and its leaves are eaten as a green vegetable. The popped grain is popularly used (both in the past and in modern times) to make a sweet treat called “alegria” (happiness/joy). The amaranth species of quelite is a valuable plant and was held in high esteem by the Azteca. It was one of four grains (the others being maize … Continue reading Amaranth and the Tzoalli Heresy