LiSA 11: Ethnobotany and Aztec sexuality

Product no.: ISBN 9783895861628
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Ethnobotany and Aztec sexuality

José Antonio Flores Farfán & Jan G.R.Elferink
CIESAS, Mexico City; University of Leiden

The Aztecs had two main approaches to modulate sexuality and procreation. On the one hand, Aztecs conceived magic and religion as dominating all aspects of life including sexuality and procreation. On the other hand, they knew the active properties of many plants and other natural sources which they used to stimulate or inhibit sexual drive, to procure abortion, to facilitate childbirth and to treat diseases connected with sexuality, pregnancy and childbirth. Plants were even applied by prostitutes, not only to enhance the sexual activity, but to procure good luck. This book gives a complete picture of Aztec sexuality and a profound discussion of the plants which were used to modulate sexuality.

The authors draw on their deep interest and extensive experience on Aztec medicinal ethnobotany and Nahuatl linguistics to unravel a number of poorly treated related topics in a systematic, unprecedented way. Because of the many references to the original, first hand, primary sources, including codices and colonial documents, this book will appeal to anyone seriously interested in Aztec language (Nahuatl) and culture or in the history of sexuality, including scholars who are studying a subject in which Aztec sexuality is directly or indirectly involved.

1. Introduction

2. Aztec attitude towards sexuality and ethnobotany
Religion, sexuality and plants

- Tlazolteotl
- Toci
- Xochiquetzal
- Xochipilli - Macuilxochitl
- Other gods associated with sexuality
- Plants as divine beings

3. Fertility and sterility
The importance of fertility
Plants for fertility
Plants and sterility

4. Aphrodisiacs
Plants as aphrodisiacs
Animals as aphrodisiacs
Hallucinogens and aphrodisiacs

5. Prostitution
General aspects
The female prostitute
Religion and prostitution
Male prostitution
Ethnobotany and prostitution

- Tzictli
- Teonanacatl
- Poyomatli
- Coapatli, coanenepilli

6. Diseases and sexuality
General aspects
Nanahuatl (“mal de las bubas”, syphilis)
Diseases of the genitals
Diseases due to illicit love
Plants against miscellaneous diseases

7. Abortion
Abortion and culture
Prevention and care after abortion
Illegal abortion and abortifacient plants

8. Pregnancy and childbirth
The midwife
Women’s diseases
Pregnancy and delivery

- Precautions during pregnancy
- Delivery
- Troubles after delivery

Magic and birth
Ceremonies in relation with birth and early childhood
Plants of special importance in connection with childbirth and delivery

- Cihuapatli
- Picietl
- Yauhtli
- Iztauhyatl

Nahuatl (and other indigenous) plant names

Latin plant names

Glossary of non-plant Nahuatl words


ISBN 9783895861628. LINCOM Studies in Anthropology 11. 138pp. 2010.

Browse this category: LINCOM Studies in Anthropology (LiSA)