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Early Spanish Health Care
Early Spanish Health Care

Soon after the arrival of Don Juan de Oñate, imported medicines were trade goods along El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, The Royal Road to the Interior, and into the Río Grande Valley. Alhucema (lavender), used for headaches and stomach conditions, was imported from Spain; European tansy mustard was employed as a remedy for cramps and fevers.

The supply routes brought medicines to the Río Abajo, but they also brought devastating diseases such as smallpox, measles, whooping cough, and cholera -- diseases for which Native Americans had little natural resistance. In 1640 alone, 3,000 Indians died of smallpox.

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