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A curandero (Spanish: [kuɾanˈdeɾo], f. curandera) or curandeiro (Portuguese: [kuɾɐ̃ˈdejɾu], f. curandeira) is a traditional Native American healer or shaman in Latin America, who is dedicated to curing physical or spiritual illnesses. The role of a curandero or curandera can also incorporate the roles of psychiatrist along with that of doctor and healer. Some curanderos, such as Don Pedrito, the Healer of Los Olmos, make use of simple herbs, waters, and even mud to affect their cures. Others additionally employ Catholic elements, such as holy water and saint pictures. The use of Roman Catholic prayers and other borrowings and lendings are often found alongside native religious elements.
They are often respected members of the community. Literally translated as "healer" from Spanish. Their powers are considered supernatural, as it is commonly believed that many illnesses are caused by lost malevolent spirits, a lesson from God, or curse.
There are many different types of curanderos. "Yerberos" are primarily herbalists. "Hueseros and Sobaderos" are bone/muscle therapists who emphasize physical ailments. "Parteras" are midwives. "Oracionistas" work primarily through the power of prayer.
Among these broader terms there are several sub specialties. For instance, Yerberos who work primarily with tobacco to heal patients are known as tobaqueros. Healers who work primarily with ayahuasca are known as ayahuasceros.
Although many curaderos do have a specialty and may identify with it, that does not mean that these healing modalities are necessarily strict and do not overlap. As an example, an oracionista may also be a powerful yerbera and so on.
Further Information 
In the Andes, one of the instruments of the curandero is the chonta, a lance carved from the chonta palm, Bactris gasipaes, thought to be imbued with magical powers. The palm grows only in the Amazon basin, and is the object of a brisk commerce. The Jivaro people of the Amazon Rainforest use the hardwood of the chonta to carve their spears. The shaman is also known as chonteador, and his most important wand is the "chonta defensa"; if he dies without disciples, the chonta is thrown, wrapped in rubands and weighted with stones, to the bottom of an andine lake; its power will reemerge when a new shaman will take office. The shamans also use wands of huatulco wood., Loxopterygium huasango.
In fiction 
Curanderos, probably because of the mystery and intrigue that surrounds them, are frequently included in fictional works:
- César Calvo, Las Tres Mitades de Ino Moxo y otros brujos de la Amazonías (Iquitos 1981), translated as The Three Halves of Ino Moxo. Teachings of the Wizard of the Upper Amazon. A novel by the Peruvian author based on the life of Manuel Córdova-Rios.
- Bless Me, Ultima, by the Chicano author Rudolfo Anaya.
- The life and writing of Miguel Ruiz[disambiguation needed] was also influenced by curanderismo, since his mother was a curandera.
- The original screenplay for the film Viva Zapata! involved a curandera predicting the birth and death of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata. The original played much more heavily on the supernatural than the chosen script.
- Eduardo The Healer, is a documentary that follows the life of a Peruvian curandero.
- Forests of the Heart, by Charles de Lint features a curandera protagonist.
- So Far From God, by Chicana author Ana Castillo, features the curandera character Doña Felicia.
- (Notes from the trial of) La Curandera, a song by the band Clutch (band) off their 2004 album, Blast Tyrant. It features a fictional trial of a curandera for curing a demon.
- Nightmare by Joan Lowery Nixon
- The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea tells the story of Teresita Urrea, a curandera at the end of the 1800s.
- "The House of Scorpions" by Nancy Farmer features a character named Celia who is a curandera.
- "Dark Obsession" by Terri Molina features a character named Ramon Chavez who is warned of danger by the spirit of a curandera, and contains a healing experience based on real life.
See also 
- Berrin, Katherine & Larco Museum. The Spirit of Ancient Peru: treasures from the Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1997.
- Karsten 6
- M. Polia, The priest of the nameless hill, Le Scienze, october 2002
- Terri Molina. Dark Obsession, published by Crimson Romance 2012
- Karsten, Rafael. Blood, Revenge, War and Victory Feasts Among the Jibara Indians of Eastern Ecuador. Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2004. ISBN 978-1-4179-3181-1.
Beyer, Stephan V. (2009). Singing to the Plants: A Guide to Mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon. University of New Mexico Press
Further reading 
- Riding, Alan. Distant Neighbors: A Portrait of the Mexicans. New York: Vintage, 2000.
- Trotter II, Robert T. and Juan Antonio Chavira. Curanderismo: Mexican American Folk Healing. University of Georgia Press, Second Edition, October 1997.