An Aztec Herbal, 1552
The Libellus de Medicinalibus Indorum Herbis (Latin for "Little Book of the Medicinal Herbs of the Indians") is an Aztec herbalmanuscript, describing the medicinal properties of various plants used by the Aztecs. It was translated into Latin by Juan Badiano, from a Nahuatl original composed in the Colegio de Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco in 1552 by Martínde la Cruz that is no longer extant. The Libellus is also known as the Badianus Manuscript, after the translator; the Codex de la Cruz-Badiano, after both the original author and translator; and the Codex Barberini, after Cardinal Francesco Barberini, who had possession of the manuscript in the early 17th century.
The people of North and South America also used medicinal herbs. Over thousandsof years, the people of North and South Americans accumulated a vast store of botanical and medical knowledge, a fact that surprised many European explorers when they began their conquest of the Americas in the sixteenth century.
Tlazolteolt, Goddess of of Medicine Men
The Aztecs, for example, were expert herbalists. In 1552, during the early years of Spanish rule in Mexico, two NativeAmerican students at the College of Santa Cruz in Tlaltilulco, Martinus de la Cruz and Juannes Badianus, compiled a list of herbs that had been used as medicines for centuries by the Aztecs. Martinus wrote, and probably illustrated, the original Aztec text, and Badianus translated the work into Latin. Today their work is called The Badianus Manuscript. Housed in the Vatican Library, The BadianusManuscript is the oldest known American herbal.
For Nose Bleeds: Atzitzicaztli
Urtica chichicaztli (Water nettle)
“The juice of nettles, ground with salt in urine and milk, poured into the nostrils stops the flow of blood from the nose.”
The Mayans also used the juice of nettles to treat nosebleeds. References to the use of nettles are found in the earliest pharmacopoeias of Europe. Thewater nettle, sometimes called chichicaste, grows throughout Mexico, Central America, the West Indies, and tropical South America.
For Injured Body
Cortez and other Spanish explorers referred to the skill of Aztec doctors in treating cuts and bruises. The following is a rather complex, multi-herb recipe for the treatment of the “injured and roughly-handled body:”
The injured androughly-handled body is to be anointed with a plaster made of tlahcoteocacatl [“Goddess of carnal pleasure grass”],centzonxochitl [“400 flowers”], xiuhtontli [“little plant”], axocotl [“water sour fruit”], tlayapaloni xiuhtontli [“little black paint plant”], the moss of any tree, cones of the cypress, seed of nettles, and the ayauhquahuitltree [“mist tree”—a variety of pine]. One who has been roughlyhandled and beaten is to drink juice well prepared from the stalk ofcohuanenepilli [“serpent tongue”], tlanexiaxihuitl [“bright tree”], chicomacatl [“gum cord”], flower of axocotl, and yzquixochitl [“popcorn flower”], tetlahuitl [red ochre stone], eztetl [bloodstone--a variety of jasper], teamoxtli [“stone plant”], liver of the aquatic bird huexocanauhtliand a few leaves of tlahtlanquaye [“joinedstem--a kind of pepper], which are to be ground in acid water.
For Lightning Stroke
One who is touched by heaven or struck by lightning is to drink a well-mixed potion made from the leaves of trees, namely, ayauhquahuitl[“mist tree”--a variety of pine] and tepapaquiltiquahuitl [“painted tree”], an unusually green cypress, the shrub yztauhyatl [“salty water plant”], the herb quauhyyauhtil[“wild or wood incense”] and teamoxtli [“stone plant”]. Whenever the potion is to be given, it should be heated over the fire.
Then the body should be rubbed with a plaster made of the herbspapaloquilitl [“butterfly eatable plant”], tlalhecapahtli [“earth/lowland wind medicine”] quauhyyauhtli, tlatlanquaye, huitzitzilxochitl[“humming bird flower”] and yztacocoxochitl [“white pine flower”],...