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Although the use of plants for treating supernaturally caused illnesses (e.g., soul loss, evil wind, witchcraft) has been documented in the Ecuador highlands, so-called magical plants have received much less focused attention than plants used for treating naturalistic disorders. Drawing on interviews done in 2002 and 2003 with 116 curanderos residing in the Ecuador highlands, this paper examines the characteristics of plants identified as magical, how they are used, and how the study of magical plants provides insights into the mindscape of residents of the highlands.

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© 2009 Cavender and Albán; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.