Belize Ethnobotany Project


Michael Balick came to Belize a month later to meet Rosita and Don Elijio. He was immediately convinced that Don Elijio was an authentic Maya shaman, a healer of the greatest caliber and that his dying, ancient medical system deserved to be preserved for all of humanity. Thus began The Belize Ethnobotany Project and a nine-year research program to record as much of Belize’s medicinal plant knowledge from her traditional healers as was humanly possible. Don Elijio contributed over five hundred different medicinal plants to the cancer and AIDS research program. All of the names, u ses, myths and preparations were recorded from his living memory when flowering samples and laboratory samples were taken. Working with a dozen traditional healers in Belize, Dr. Balick, Rosita and her husband Greg sent more than 2800 samples of plants to the National Cancer Institute for testing on three types of cancer tumors and two different AIDS viruses.