Izamal is a city in Yucatán that you can’t miss, for the richness of its historical past, for its colonial architecture, and the mysticism that surrounds its most deeply rooted traditions, such as Maya herbal medicine, one of the secrets that you probably didn’t know about this favorite place of tourists and locals.
Those who know this beautiful “yellow city,” so called because of the color on all its walls, feel an immediate calm walking through its cobblestone streets and enjoying the warmth of its people. In addition, it offers many opportunities to take splendid photographs thanks to the magnificent scenarios of blue sky and architectural beauty, a product of the mix of pre-Hispanic, Spanish and modern influences.
In Izamal you can find archaeological sites to connect with the Maya past; one of the largest atriums in Latin America in the Franciscan convent of San Antonio de Padua; and exquisite Yucatecan cuisine in its restaurants and in the main market. But best of all, it has a very well kept secret: an exclusive herbal medicine store where you can find the remedy for all illnesses…and much more.
To enter Centro Botánico La Melisa (Calle 29 between 38 and 40, Centro, Izamal) is to open the door to a world of Maya recipes and wisdom in the form of soaps, capsules, ointments, concentrates, creams, and herbal teas, for any type of disease, including colds, bronchitis, high colesterol, and diabetes. Each one is prepared following the Maya tradition passed down from generation to generation in the Patrón family, using the native plants of the region, without adding chemicals, making these products something totally natural.
The different plants that are used for the preparations are cultivated on the family lands. The leaves are dried for a few days and then hand ground in a mill to produce the capsules or formulas for the creams, soaps, and extracts. All family members participate in the business and learn from Don Feliciano Patrón, more than 80 years old, who in turn learned from his father and he from his grandfather, in a tradition devoted to traditional medicine that goes back four generations.
Visitors to the store can explain their symptoms and the ideal remedy will be suggested, whether in tea, capsule or cream, with the knowledge that your host has been dedicated to traditional and herbal medicine for more than 50 years. Of course, the treatments require time and patience to see the desired results, at least 28 days in the case of diseases of greater impact.
On my recent visit, I could not help taking something home, some capsules for digestion, an activated carbon soap, and even a lotion of rue and mint. Healthy body and spirit, as the Maya said, is a meeting of all dimensions. Don’t wait to schedule your next visit to Izamal!
Editorial by Violeta H. Cantarell
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