Sastun: My Apprenticeship with a Maya Healer

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9780062502599: Sastun: My Apprenticeship with a Maya Healer

The compelling drama of American herbologist Rosita Arvigo's quest to preserve the knowledge of Don Elijio Panti, one of the last surviving and most respected traditional healers in the rainforest of Belize.

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About the Author:

Rosita Arvigo was born in Chicago and trained in the United States as a doctor of naprapathy. In addition to her natural healing practice in Belize, Arvigo is the founder of Belize's six-thousand-acre Terra Nova Medicinal Plant Reserve, the founder of Ix Chel Tropical Research Foundation, the cofounder of Rainforest Remedies, and the creator of the Panti Mayan Medicine Trail, a popular and educational tribute to Don Elijio

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Arvigo's commitment to traditional herbal medicine took her from the straight streets of Chicago to the lush and demanding wilderness of Belize, where she met one of the region's most renowned Mayan healers, Don Elijio Panti. Undaunted by the feisty octogenarian's assumption that a gringa couldn't possibly attain the level of spirituality necessary to practice his art, Arvigo began helping him with the arduous daily work of collecting and preparing plants. Once Panti recognized Arvigo's skill, sincerity, and strength, he began teaching her not only how to use plants to cure physical diseases, but also how to diagnose and treat a host of mysterious psychic disorders with a sastun, or divining stone. The more Arvigo learned, the more she realized that the practice of traditional herbal medicine is threatened by the destruction of the rain forest. In an effort to preserve both Panti's knowledge and the plants the healers depend on, Arvigo has established a research foundation and medicinal plant reserve, thus building a bridge between traditional healing and modern science. With the assistance of journalist Epstein, Arvigo relates her often astonishing and moving tale with disarming modesty and openness. Donna Seaman

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