The Lacandon Maya are rainforest farmers who inhabit the tropical jungles of southern Mexico and Guatemala. They number approximately 700 individuals and practice a traditional system of agriculture that incorporates introduced plants and the native flora of their environment. In this essay, we discuss a largely neglected aspect of Lacandon ethnomedicine. Our results include 47 medicinal plants used by the several Northern Lacandon living in the communities of Naha’ and Lacanja Chan Sayab. The plants are cultivated in three zones (house gardens, milpas, and secondary milpas) and wild plants are collected from the jungle. This method of healing exists amid numerous alternatives and intense pressure to use Western medicine. Nevertheless, many Lacandon Maya continue to practice healing with cultivated and wild plants. In this context, Lacandon ethnomedicine represents a dynamic aspect of their culture and serves to challenge an academic model that regularly essentializes their society and predicts their imminent destruction.
Kashanipour, Ryan A. and McGee, R. Jon. "Northern Lacandon Maya Medicinal Plant Use in the Communities of Lacanja Chan Sayab and Nahá Chiapas, Mexico." Journal of Ecological Anthropology 8, no. 1 (2004): 47-66.
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/jea/vol8/iss1/3