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The healer at the downtown
And the holy herbs to cure all evil
Written by: Patricia Salvador, Pilar Cobo / Photos: Patricio Rivera / Translation: Gaspo Sánchez
Tags: Tourism, Culture, Andean Kitchen, Ecology, Traditions.
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Page 1 of 1 │ November 10, 2011
The healer at the downtown and the holy herbs to cure all evil

When I enter Rosa's small store in the downtown in Quito I start to remember an old song by the famous cuban singer Celia Cruz, the song I'm referring to tells the story of a lady that sells all kinds of weeds and herbs with the special ability to cure all deseases and even get rid of all evil. That part of the song says very well what Rosa Hortensia does and sells.


"I sell all sweet herbs you can imagine" Hortesia told us, "I sell the herb brooms to make the Limpias (According to the tradition the Limpia is an old way to get rid of soft deseases thru the use of plants). "Just ask me" she says and adds, "I can sell you the Malva for the feminine hygiene, or the Ortiga which can be prepared to aid circulation and as a stress reliever". she listed. As we walked along with Rosa she told us that she learned about the benefits of herbs with several healers a long time ago, she knows some plants are very effective against certain illnesses but also knows that the effectiveness of the cure is related to the faith of the patient, because if someone does not have enough faith in the healing power of a certain herb there will be no curation. Rosa, also make use of plants to bring good luck to people and places, "You can get rid of bad luck from yourself but if the source of the bad luck is in your home I must cure the house first".


To bring good luck to her clients Rosa has a small place at the corner of the shop, she does it with a special 'broom' of herbs: "For a proper cure, in the broom you must have the right plants Eucalyptus, Amargo, Chilca, Ruda, then with the aid of St. Mary you can achieve curation or good luck, for children this broom is to hard, for the small ones we use flowers placed in a bowl with colony with that you clean the child while praying".

Before the ritual is over the healer rub an egg on the head of the patient, she told us that the bad energy is transfered from the patient to the egg after that the healer breaks the egg and pour its content in a glass of water where both the healer and the patient can see the stains floating in the water, Rosa told us that those stains were most likely the disease from the patient. With this same ritual she is able to cure "bad energy" and "the evil eye" a kind of mild fever that infants suffers. Popular belief says that these practices are effective, we do not know for sure, some think is the faith on the plant what heals like a placebo. Rosa told us that a Limpia is a great remedy for every illness, especially if accompanied by any of the herbs you buy at the local market of San Roque. If you would like to try a Limpia by Rosa, she is waiting for you, who knows maybe she can bring you good luck.

Where is Rosa Hortensia's shop? Rosa's shop is located in Quito in the Vincente Rocafuerte Street between Sebastían de Benalcazar and García Moreno. For easy location consult the map under this paragraph.

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