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Table 6 Main items used in healing rituals in the Saraguro community

From: Traditional medicine applied by the Saraguro yachakkuna: a preliminary approach to the use of sacred and psychoactive plant species in the southern region of Ecuador

Elements of the mesa Description
Sword or machete These items are used as a defense against enemies or negative energies that threaten the mesa.
Bastón de mando This item represents the maximum power that is present in the ritual. These canes have magical powers: if they are passed through the body of a person, they clean the person of negative energies.
Stones Stones serve to cleanse a person and remove his/her negative energies. Some are archaeologically significant and appear to have more power than normal stones.
Shells Shells are used as vessels for ingesting the psychoactive species extract.
San Pedro cactus beverage Sacred drink used to achieve an ecstatic state and the desired contact with the gods and the supernatural.
Sugar Sugar is the symbol of the good, the sweet, the blooming. It is used to prepare a drink with lime juice and carnation flowers that finishes the mesa and completes the ritual.
Macerated tobacco Tobacco leaves are extracted in water or alcohol and perfumes. This extract is inhaled to enhance the effect of the San Pedro beverage.
Extract of wild sacred plants An extract made from wild sacred plants known as wamingas and trencillas (Lycopodiaceae spp.). It has the power to cure and remove negative energies.
Aguardiente Distilled from sugar cane, this item is used as an offering during the ritual.
Agua Florida and perfumes These items remove the negative energy during soplada. In this manner, the environment, mesa, yachak, and patients are cleansed.
Holy water Holy water removes negative energy during the ceremony. For the yachak, holy water is pure and fresh water that has been collected from lagoons and sacred lakes.
Rienda This item is a rope made of cattle tail hair. It represents a sacred element that removes negative energy and diseases while the patient passes it through his/her body, simulating an external cleaning.
Candle In the flame of the candle, some visionary yachakkuna can see the health and welfare of a patient. The intensity of the flame indicates the patient’s problem and his/her future.