As much as some older generations may insinuate that anxiety and depression didn't exist in their time, "eso es cosa de esta generacion" they're just romanticizing the past! Anxiety is not a modern phenomenon, in fact if we go waaay back there are traditional remedies for anxiety but it wasn’t called that but maybe you've heard of espanto or nervios?
A sophisticated understanding of the Central Nervous System
Scientist have studied the pharmacology of the Mayans and found that they used many plants that targeted the Central Nervous System. They used plants that release serotonin, and GABA and toned different neural pathways. They had a clear understanding of how anxiety, a nervous system disorder operated in the body and knew which plants could target and treat those areas.
Anxiety by any other name...
People would visit their local curanderos/as to treat a wide range of illness including those that affected the spirit and soul. You may have heard of some of these illnesses.
Susto/Espanto: the loss of your spirit or soul after a frightening or traumatic event.
Symptoms include (but are not limited to) insomnia, loss of appetite, digestive issues and irritability.
Nervios: physical and mental tension and psychological duress, ruminating and excessive worry.
Mal de Ojo: caused by someone looking at you with ill intent, jealousy or bad energy. Symptoms include headaches, weight loss, exhaustion and sadness.
Many of these illnesses have similar symptoms and those overlap with the symptoms of modern--day anxiety.
Curanderos/as knew exactly which plants to use based on what was available locally and their vast knowledge on each plant's herbal actions on the body.
Stay tuned for a look at some of the specific remedies and modalities curanderos/as used to treat anxiety.