Alternative medicines have a popular history going back at least two thousand years in Peru and the traditional practitioners – herbaleros, hueseros and curanderos – are still commonplace. Herbaleros sell curative plants, herbs and charms in the streets and markets of most towns. They lay out a selection of ground roots, liquid tree barks, flowers, leaves and creams – all with specific medicinal functions and sold at much lower prices than in the farmacias. If told the symptoms, a herbalero can select remedies for most minor (and apparently some major) ailments. Hueseros are consultants who treat diseases and injuries by bone manipulation, while curanderos claim diagnostic, divinatory and healing powers and have existed in Peru since pre-Inca days. For further information on alternative medicine and traditional healing, see Ancient Wizardry in Modern Peru.

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