This weekend I spent 4 Neuvo Soles on a bottle of “Nectar de Sabila” at the local market here in Wanchaq. This concoction is some type of cactus juice that, according to its producers, has both nutritional and healing properties. The label states:
The part I find most interesting is the claimed anti-biotic properties. The nectar is produced here in Cusco “por la asociacion de productores y transformadores agro industriales Kay Pachapi Llank’ay“. Anyone who speaks Quechua please tell us in the comments if that name has any meaning.
The recommended use is a half a glass before or after breakfast, so I’ve been faithfully sipping my cactus juice every morning. It doesn’t taste quite like fruit juice, but not medicinal either, it actually tastes pretty good.
Natural medicine is popular in Peru. Hotels and chamans offer ayahuasca sessions and many typical Andean or Amazon plants are believed to have healing powers, the most famous of these is, of course, the coca leaf.
I’m honestly not a huge fan of the so-called natural medicine here in Cusco, because it is very commercialized for the tourists, just like anything else here in the city. Once you leave the main tourist area in Cusco behind, I do find it fascinating to learn about the healing powers believed to exist in the culture and nature of the Andes.