According to the Mapuche medicine, there are four types of medicinal herbs: "Weychafeke Lawen" (strong herbs), "füshku lawen" (soft herbs), "reke lawen" (native herbs of common use but difficult to get) and rukake lawen" (of common use)

Weychafeke Lawen - Strong Herbs

According to the Mapuche medicine, there are four types of medicinal herbs: "Weychafeke Lawen" (strong herbs), "füshku lawen" (soft herbs), "reke lawen" (native herbs of common use but dificult to get) and rukake lawen" (of common use)

This time we will talk about the strong herbs.

Weychafeke Lawen - Strong herbs.

Palgiñ o Palqui: it is used like a "contra" (to weaken negative energies generally caused by envy). It is used to bring down a fever, to ease toothache and paralysis, in this case the body is rubbed with a mix of leaves and egg yolk.

Chakay or Espino blanco (Hawthorn): "contra". It is used for stomachache and gastritis.

Küla o Quila: for rogations. It sap is used for disease of the eyes.

Kurü Mamüll o Palo negro: "contra". It use for the period pains, indigestions and flatulence In infusions.

Foye o Canelo: The sacred tree of the mapuche people. It is used like "contra" in night ( (Machitun) and daytime (Nguillatun) ceremonies. It is used for bruises and low blood presure too. It have a lot of vitamine-c. It is an "antiescorbútico".

Wülwe o Contrayerba, huilhue: it is used like "contra", for indigestion or constipation.

Refü o Tomatillo: "contra". It is used for rubbing the body and to ease "frío interno".

Trafen Trafen o Quebracho: It is used like "contra" for children "ojeados".

Triwe o Laurel: "contra". To rub the body (warm). In the Machitun , the triwe is plant in the sick person´s house and is used alternate with canelo, in the head and feet. It is used for Flatulence and fever too.

Trupa o Tabaco del Diablo: "contra" in Machitunes. Its strong sap is used like an anesthetics for toothache.

Source: Knowledges and experiences about Mapuche Medicine of two Wenteche families. Mapuche Lawentuwün Epu Reyñma Wenche Ñi Kimün Mew.

Mapuche authors: Luis Alberto Huaiquimil Mulato Elvira Carmen Pichun López Francisca Caniulaf Pichun José Quidel Lincoleo Zoila Maria Hinostroza Cea Olga Ines Alchao Hinostroza Segundo Ceferino Caniulempi Painevil Marcelina Pichun López

Other authors: Teresa Duran Pérez Enrique Hauenstein Barra

Quillay - Indigenous Tree of Chile

Quillay - Indigenous Tree of Chile

Quillay grows between Coquimbo and Malleco. It is an evergreen tree that grows 15 meters high and 1 meter in diameter. The saponins are natural tensoactive constituents of the Quillay. It was known as the shampoo which was used for washing the indigenous hair and body. The indigenous people knew it and valued these properties. Read more...

Mapuche Medicinal Herbs

Spiritual, scientific and practical elements are contained in the rich Mapuche tradition which has a special vision about health and disease.

The herbs used by the Mapuche medicine has been effective in the healing and relief of many pains. Some herbs have historically been used but some others have been revealed by produce improvement in the people's health.

Here we describe briefly only 5 combinations of 29 from the document "The Mapuche Women. Traditional Knowledge in the Treatment of Common Diseases " compiled by Sonia Montecinos and Ana Conejeros in 1985.


Canelo tree or foye

The Mapuche Philosophy lies in the balance between the forces of nature and spirit. They have to maintain equilibrium between positive and negative forces to heal sick person. For example, pain, happiness, resentment or hatred often could be the root cause of diseases. The use of medicinal herbs is combined with some common ways of diagnosis such as looking at the urine or the clothes of the sick person.

There are two types of medicinal herbs. One is used for healing and the other one is used for revealing disease. The last one allow machi to contact with the spirit world or ngenmapu. Laurel tree, Canelo tree and wilel lawen (herb of the fortune teller) are plants that allow the contact: foye (canelo tree) talks with kila and thus each one is put in contact with another natural element. Read more...

Boldo (Peumus boldus)

Before the Spaniards arrived , boldo was a widely used medicinal plant by several indigenous groups in the country. Specifically, the Mapuche people used boldo for dislocations and rheumatism (Gusinde, 1917).

Boldo is a highly valued herb because of its medicinal effects, that has been subject of attention of naturalists and scientists from beginnings of the last century. Nowadays, the use of boldo is spread throughout all the national territory as well as in many places of the world. In fact, at world-wide level it is one of the most spread national species because of its verified and exceptional curative properties, that include alkaloids, essential oils, and flavonoides at the same time.

Boldine is an alkaloid present in boldo which stimulates the production of gastric juice and bile, increasing the secretion of urea and uric acid. It has a slightly hypnotic effect. Within their essential oils there are eucaliptol, ascaridiol and p-cimol which are substances with antiinflammatory and carminative properties. The properties of boldo can be summed up as follows: it is a digestive stimulant, colagogo and colerético. It also has sedative effects on the nervous system. All researchersl are agree about these medicinal properties, although some suggest to use boldo for other health problems such as: alleviate toothache, rheumatic pains, etc. Read more...