The Magic of Medicinal Plants in Peru

Throughout the thick and fertile Peruvian rainforest, one can find a whole host of plants that have been used throughout history for valuable medicinal purposes. For centuries, throughout Peru and the New World, these plants have been used to create homeopathic remedies developed to cure many maladies. Communities have their own unique recipes and use for the various local medicinal plants, enabling them to treat symptoms, illnesses or injuries in the comfort of their homes.

Homeopathic remedies have been a traditional way of curing ailments in Peru’s history, to a time long before the Incas and Aztecs reigned. Today, descendants of the Aztecs and Incas still practice as curanderos or shamans in communities to treat illnesses, both major and minor, and are regarded with respect for the continuation of these age-old professions.

Coca Tea

We can learn a lot about medicinal plants thanks to records produced by Spanish or mestizo chroniclers. The Guaman Poma de Ayala records the daily life in the Inca Empire before the arrival of Pizarro. One of the records describes how Inca Tupac Yupanqui tried to prevent the curanderos from performing surgery during his reign. Despite his best efforts, the curanderos only grew in numbers and power, such was their popularity. Descriptions from other mestizo chroniclers noted how other rulers such as Inca Roca called for curanderos all over the empire to help diagnose and cure his son when he fell ill. Cuzco was filled to capacity at this point; such was the number of practitioners who travelled from far and wide to help the ruler’s poorly son.

Inkaterra Coffee

In total, the amount of ancient methods used in Peru has included more than 1,400 species of medicinal plants. An incredible 900 of them come from the Amazon Rainforest, one of which is used throughout Inkaterra hotels to soothe altitude sickness, the coca plant. This popular homoeopathic remedy contains a complex array of mineral nutrients, essential oils and more, and at Inkaterra we use the leaves of the coca plant to create a soothing herbal tea. Across the Andes, millions of people drink the coca tea, which, for many cultures, it is considered to be a sacred ritual. The tea can help boost your immune system and energy levels, as well as having many other health benefits. This is because of the compounds and vitamins contained in the leaves.

Thousands of ancient Peruvian remedies are still used effectively today, to learn more about Peruvian history and discover the Incan Empire for yourself, visit Inkaterra where you will be welcomed by a warm cup of coca tea. At Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel guests can explore our organic tea plantation and tea house to discover the wonders of the traditional tea making process. If you are more of a coffee fan, be sure to try the Inkaterra organic coffee grown in our exuberant tropical garden in Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.