Institute of Natural and Traditional
Knowledge
Nurturing Ancient Knowledge for the Future

Martin De La Cruz award

The award is presented in honor of Martin de la Cruz, who, as an Aztec healer, was the first indigenous person in the New World to provide data about medicinal plant uses. His body of knowledge was published as a book in 1552, well before an English-language medicinal herb volume mainly about European species was published in 1597.

For centuries, there were only two copies of de la Cruz's book, and their whereabouts were unknown. In the 1920s, the original was found in a Vatican library. Since then, many facsimiles have been produced, and one is in the Missouri Botanical Garden collection.

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