Mayan Traditional Medicine

Project Director Anabella F. Perez Consuegra, M.D./MSC

This project provides community education and awareness on the importance of Mayan Traditional Medicine in the Guatemalan healthcare system. Without such awareness it is at risk of being lost thereby decreasing healthcare access for large segments of the population. In Guatemala, there are two health systems available: the predominant official or formal system and Mayan Traditional Medicine (MTM). MTM is an ancient cultural and scientific form of integral medicine, healing practices, and social ceremonies. It has been handed down by indigenous community leaders for generation and remains an important healthcare option. Where still practiced, it is often the most affordable and accessible method of medical treatment and disease prevention. However, without recognition of the value of this form of healthcare it will disappear. The goal of this project is to educate communities and leaders on the role of MTM in the healthcare system as a whole. Without this recognition it may not survive and would leave even more of the population without access to viable healthcare.

Anabella F. Perez is a medical doctor who recently completed her Masters in Social Anthropology and did extensive research on MTM. As part of her research, Dr. Perez studied indigenous communities in the western highlands of Guatemala, specifically in San Juan Ostuncalco and Nahuala, and meet with Mayan communities’ leaders who shared their experiences and dreams of preserving Mayan Traditional Medicine. She identified the significant role MTM plays in the Guatemalan healthcare system in conjunction with Western Medicine.

Dr. Perez is developing materials for each of the ethnic communities where the study was conducted.  Dr. Perez is aiming to support the conservation of Mayan cultural resources by making the information she gathered available in an accessible form to indigenous communities with little schooling and low literacy rates. This will raise awareness of the history and culture of Mayan Traditional Medicine and its benefits in the management and treatment of common illnesses. This awareness is crucial to ensuring it continues to provide healthcare to a population without viable alternatives.

Please view the recently completed video on this project:


MEDICINE, the Eternal Aspect of Mayan Culture (in English):