Friday, September 21, 2012

The Healing Properties of Jade (Part 2: Prehistoric Practices in the Americas)

Mesoamerican Jade Artifact
Copyright 2005, Authentic Maya
by Angela Magnotti Andrews

In Mesoamerica (Central America/Mexico), it is believed that prehistoric Native Americans, such as the Olmecs and the Mayas used jadeite jade to cure snakebite, fever, gout, and  kidney stones. It is believed that they passed these customs on to the Aztecs, who in turn passed them on to the Spanish conquistadores, who came home wearing jade stones tied around their arms or to flanking their hips as a remedy for kidney stones.

Apparently, jade was also found in abundance along the Amazon. Sir Walter Raleigh, who explored South America, particularly Guyana, reported purchasing green stones formed into 2-inch perforated cylinders, which he and his men tied around their hips to help them pass kidney stones. The editor of Raleigh’s book, Sir Robert Schomburgk, reported that these stones were found at the Orinoco and Rio Branco rivers. Today, these sites are believed to have been fed by the Guatemalan jade deposits near the Motaqua fault, as there are no known native jade [deposits] in South America.

Schomburgk relies heavily upon the works of Baron Alexander von Humboldt, a famous German naturalist and explorer who also explored some of the same areas as Raleigh did. Schomburgk reports that Humboldt related that the Indians along the Amazon used the green stones as amulets which “preserved the wearer against nervous diseases and liver complaints, fevers, and the bite of snakes.” (Raleigh, p. 29)

Between the Spaniards and the English explorers, it’s no wonder that the power of jade arrived in Europe, with 19th century physicians encouraging their patients to tie a piece of the green stone to their arm or hip to cure kidney stones. While modern-day holistic healers and gemstone therapists no longer recommend grinding it into powders and tonics, jade definitely maintains its role as healer today.

Read more about Modern Medical Practices with Jade.
1. "Alexander von Humboldt." Wikipedia. Accessed September 21, 2012.
2. Coppens, Philip. "The Royal Stone of the Maya." Philip Coppens website. Accessed September 21, 2012.
3. "Power of Stones, The: Jade." Angelfire website. Accessed September 21, 2012.
4. Raleigh, Sir Walter. The Discovery of the Empire of Guiana. London: Richard and John E. Taylor, 1843. Edited by Sir Robert H. Schomburgk, Ph.D.
5. "What is Jade." Mountain Jade. Accessed September 21, 2012.

*Clip art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

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