CORN AND THE MAYA
Native Village News
Yum Caax (yoom kah' -ahks), Mayan god of corn and agriculture
When Christopher Columbus landed in America, he wasn't in search of a new world; he was looking for a shorter trade route to transport spices from the Far East to Europe. However he found something far more valuable: corn.
Corn as staple
and symbol played a major role in all aspects of Maya life. The Maya considered
corn a gift from the gods and cultivating it was a sacred duty;
It was so highly esteemed that jade, the most sacred of stones, was used to symbolize it (its green color reminiscent of tender green corn).
According to the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya, humankind itself was made of corn--the
gods had tried other materials and failed.
Corn is a source of carbohydrate which supplies us with energy;
When combined with beans (protein, iron and other minerals), squash (the seeds are as nutritious as cheese) and chile peppers (all the essential vitamins) you have just about everything the human body needs for good health;
Corn soaked in lye absorbs the lye's calcium which is essential to strong bones. The rarity of rickets throughout Maya land is no coincidence;
Corn is used in home remedies for hepatitis, hypertension, diabetes, kidney problems, gallstones, rheumatism, warts, tumors, tonics, salves and plasters;
Corn silk —the long silky filaments that grow at the tip of the corncob— are an excellent diuretic.
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