Natural healing—the art of curandero or curanderismo (taken from the Spanish word “curar,” or to cure)—isn’t necessarily a thing of the past. Many Latinos continue to drink teas of barks and berries for internal ailments, use plant leaves and roots for external injuries, and take part in healing rituals to rid the soul of dangerous spirits.

The medical community has often been skeptical about folk healing. However, recent studies have begun to show a scientific basis behind many traditional curandero practices. Click through the slideshow for an overview of popular ingredients in natural Latino medicine, including why they work and how to use them safely.