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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Comedores peruanos de tierras.



Varios informes periodísticos dan cuenta de la ingesta rutinaria de cierto tipo de arcillas y tierras por parte de varias comunidades americanas (Perú, Bolivia, Haiti, áreas del Mississipi americano actual) y africanas: (Niger, Nigeria, Zambia,etc.). Las motivaciones para su ingesta van desde "su rico sabor", hasta razones medicinales. Esta práctica aparentemente aberrante y contracultural para los ojos occidentales, es rutinaria en muchas áreas del mundo actual, incluyendo al Perú.
Weir y Bonavia, han demostrado la presencia de tierra y arena excesiva, en coprolitos (concreciones de heces), humanos pertenecientes a individuos que habitaron la costa norcentral peruana antes, de la introducción del maiz (3000 años a.C.). Como el grupo humano en referencia, tenía sus necesidades alimenticias cubiertas, hay razones para pensar en este caso, en geofagia (ingesta de tierra como alimento). No obstante, existen tambien, opiniones contrarias, al respecto. De otro lado, Cobo, refiere que las sociedades prehispánicas peruanas, acostumbraban cubrir el maiz con arena para protegerlo de ciertos depredadores (coleópteros). El mismo Cobo refiere que cierto tipo de arcilla : el chaco, era ingerido por mujeres, como golosinas.
Mejia Xesspe, refiere que ciertas arcillas de color blanco surandinas peruanas, eran ingeridasde conjunto con papas silvestres con fines detoxificantes. Al respecto Hunter, ha demostrado que ciertas arcillas africanas y otras procedentes de Cerdeña, eliminan taninos (tóxicos) y calcio en exceso, respectivamente.Weiss, refrenda lo anterior, agregando que algunas arcillas protegen al estomago de la influencia nociva de ciertos ácidos corporales, al proporcionar capas protectoras intestinales. John y Duquette, agregan que la geofagia ha ejercido de antiguo, un rol detoxificante que favoreció la domesticación de muchas plantas y vegetales.
Cobo, refiere que cierta arcilla amarilla (tacu), procedente del altiplano de Potosí, mezclada con chicha (zumo alcohólico de maiz), era empleada con éxito para tratar diarreas sanguinolentas. En el Perú, son famosas las arcillas procedentes del Huallaga (selva peruana), por contener probadamente álcalis, Mg, Na, K, Si, He y otros. Los chunchos (comunidad selvática peruana), acostumbran mezclar sus alimentos con sal y arcillas rojas. Asimismo, algunos peruanos del altiplano, ingieren arcillas procedentes de Nasca, Cañete e Ica (costa peruana), de conjunto con yucas, frijoles y habas.

Como se vé, la geofagia exhibe registros prehistóricos y prehispánicos conectados a su uso actual en todo el mundo.Su vigencia se debe fundamentalmente a razones fisiológicas. El que ciertas mujeres gestantes actuales ingieran : hielo, tiza, betún de zapato (sustancias, no nutritivas), debe ser vista más como una desviación cultural de la geofagia ancestral, que como una desviación psiquiátrica.
Referencias:
1-Hunter, M.John.1973.Geophagy in Africa and in the U.S. A culture-nutritional Hypothesis. The Geographic Review. 63(2):172-200.2-Mejia Xesspe.1931. Alimentos de los Indios. Kausay.Enero-Marzo.1(1).:9-24.3-Weir D. and Bonavia,D.1985.Coprolitos y dieta del precerámico Tardio en la costa peruana. Bull Fr Etud Andines.14(1-2).85-140. 4-Cobo, Bernabe.1964 (1653).Historia del Nuevo Mundo.Tomo I. Edit. Atlas, Madrid. 5-Johns T. and Duquette, M.1996. Detoxification and mineral supply as elements of geophagy.Am J ClinNut. 53:448-456.
Peruvian earth eaters

Several journalistic information give account of the routine ingestion of certain type of clays and earth on the part of several American communities (Peru, Bolivia, Haiti, areas of the present American Mississipi) and African: (Niger, Nigeria, Zambia, etc.). The motivations for their ingestion go from "their rich flavor", to medicinal reasons. This aberrant and apparently contracultural practice for the western eyes, is routine in many areas of the present world, including a Peru.

Weir and Bonavia (see references above), have demonstrated to the presence of earth and excessive sand, in human coprolites (feces concretions), pertaining to individuals that inhabited the Peruvian norcentral coast before the introduction of the corn (3000 years a.C.). Like the human group in reference, it had his covered nutritional necessities, there is reasons to think in this case in geophagy (earth ingestion like food). However, they also exist, opposite opinions, on the matter. Of another side, Cobo, refers that the Peruvian Hispanic societies, were used to covering the corn with sand to protect it from certain predators (coleopters). The same Cobo refers that certain type of clay: the chaco, was ingested by women, like treats.

Mejia Xesspe, refers that certain clays of white color, from peruvian south high altitude, were ingested joint with wild potatoes with detoxificants aims. On the matter Hunter, has demonstrated that to certain African clays and others coming from Sardinia, eliminate tannins (toxic) and calcium in excess, respectively. Weiss, authenticates the previous thing, adding that some clays protect the stomach of the injurious corporal acid influence, providing in this way intestinal protective coatings. Johns and Duquette, add that geophagy has exerted of old, a detoxificant roll that favored the domestication of many plants and vegetables.

Cobo, refers that certain yellow clay (tacu), coming from the plateau of Potosí, mixed with chicha (alcoholic beverage made of corn), was employeed successfully to treat bloody diarreas. In Peru, the clays coming from the Huallaga (peruvian forest), are famous, because it is proved that they contains : alkalis, Mg, Na, K, Si, iron and others minerals. The chunchos (Peruvian forest community), are used to mixing their foods with salt and red clays. Also, some Peruvians of the plateau, ingest clays coming from Nasca, Cañete and Ica (Peruvian coast), mixed with yuccas, frijoles and habas.

As you go away, geophagy exhibits prehistoric and prehispanic registries, connected to his present use in all the world. Its vast use it must have physiological reasons, fundamentally. The one that certain present pregnant women ingest: ice, chalk, bitumen of shoe (substances, nonnutritious), must be seen more like a cultural deviation of the ancestral geophagy, than like a psychiatric deviation.

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