Libellus de Medicinalibus Indorum Herbis
LIBELLUS DE MEDICINALIBUS INDORUM HERBIS (aka Little Book of the Medicinal Herbs of the ‘Indians’) is considered the first plant medicine book of the Americas. A compilation of indigenous medicinal practices of the Nahua people, the book was facilitated by missionary school Colegio de Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco where indigenous student Badiano translated the knowledge of Martín de la Cruz ,a local indigenous doctor man, from Nahuatl into latin. .
It’s a rich text with beautiful illustrations and medicinal knowledge that Nahua + colonizers benefited from. BUT WHAT I FIND INCREDIBLY DISTRACTING /HEARTBREAKING: .
1. Whether performative or not, the book opens with colonized self-hate. The indigenous translator / editor prefaces the collection in Latin with: .
“Would that we might make a book worthy the king’s view for this is certainly most unworthy of coming into the sight of so great majesty but remember that we poor and unfortunate Indians are inferior to all mortal and thus our insignificance and poverty implanted in us by nature, merit forbearance. Now therefore I pray, most magnificent Sir, that this little book which by every right I should have put in thy name, thou shalt in this spirit receive from the hand of thy servant, through which it is offered; or which I should wonder not at, though shouldest be throw it away as it deserve.” (?!)
2. Colonizers taking knowledge that isn’t theirs nor actually using it…
The manuscript was virtually left unknown because it was sent immediately to Spain upon its completion. It was compiled primarily to show the crown of the work being done at the missionary school to ultimately request for more economic support. It would take 3 generations before any dique king or royalty would open the manuscript. Only after the book got relocated and discovered by researchers in the Vatican, did it get brought back to MX by John Paul II in 1990.. And only afterward has there been more research and study into the text. .
YT WORLD, WE OWNING + BILLING YOU OUR MAGIC.