Aztec medicine concerns the body of knowledge, belief and a ritual surrounding human health and sickness, as observed among the Nahuatl-speaking people in the Aztec realm of central Mexico.The Aztecs knew of and used an extensive inventory consisting of hundreds of different medicinal herbs and plants which contributed significantly to the development of Spanish Colonial Medicine.
A variety of indigenous Nahua and Novohispanic written works survive from the Spanish conquest and later colonial periods that describe aspects of the Aztec system and practice of medicine and its remedies, incantations, practical administration, and cultural underpinnings. Elements of traditional medicinal practices and beliefs are still found among modern-day Nahua communities, often intermixed with European or other later influences.
As with many other Mesoamerican cultures, the Aztec system recognized three main causes of illness and injury; supernatural causes (eg; displeasure of the gods, imbalance with the supernatural and natural worlds), magical causes, involving malevolent curses and sorcerers (tlacatecolotl in Nahuatl), and natural or practical causes.
Medical practices and treatment consisted of a combination of medical botany and an understanding in the supernatural. Establishing a treatment for any given ailment depended first upon determining the nature of its cause, which could be the result of the supernatural or the natural. The presence of a disease could often indicate the existence of a communion with the supernatural world. The Aztecs also understood there was a balance between hot and cold in medical practice, bearing resemblance to Humorism which allowed an integration with Spanish Colonial Medicine and in fact their herbal medicines made many contributions to the medical and culinary practices that would migrate to Europe and contribute to the renaissance of medicine.
Amazingly, we find with Aztec Medicine humoral concepts of similar nature to Greek, Egyptian, Hindu, and Chinese medicine, confirming our thesis of a uninversality of humoralism linked to the ancient and sacred teachings.
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