Talk:Folk healer

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Curandera performing a limpieza in Cuenca, Ecuador

A curandero (female curandera) or curandeiro (female curandeira) is a traditional Native folk healer, shaman or witch doctor found in the United States, Latin America and Southern Europe.[citation needed]

The curandero dedicates their life to the administration of remedies for mental, emotional, physical and spiritual illnesses based on their evaluation. The role of a curandero or curandera can also incorporate the roles of psychiatrist along with that of doctor and healer.

Some curanderos make use of simple herbs, waters, and even mud to effect their cures. Others additionally employ Catholic elements, such as holy water and pictures of saints. The use of Roman Catholic prayers and other borrowings and lendings are often found alongside native religious elements. Many curanderos emphasize their native spirituality in healing while being practicing Roman Catholics.[citation needed]

Notable curanderos and curanderas

  • Don Pedro Jaramillo
  • Manuel Córdova-Rios
  • María Sabina

Medicine man

A medicine man or medicine woman is a traditional healer and spiritual leader who serves a community of indigenous people of the Americas. Individual cultures have their own names, in their respective Indigenous languages, for the spiritual healers and ceremonial leaders in their particular cultures.


Vegetalismo is a term used to refer to a practice of mestizo shamanism in the Peruvian Amazon in which the shamans – known as vegetalistas – gain their knowledge and power to cure from the vegetables, or plants of the region. Many receive their knowledge from ingesting the hallucinogenic, emetic brew ayahuasca.[1][2]

Witch doctor

Two Lassa witch doctors

A witch doctor was originally a type of healer who treated ailments believed to be caused by witchcraft. The term witch doctor is sometimes used to refer to healers, particularly in third world regions, who use traditional healing rather than contemporary medicine. In contemporary society, "witch doctor" is sometimes used derisively to refer to chiropractors, homeopaths and faith healers.

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