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Ix Chel Foundation


Ix Chel Tropical Research Foundation

Dr. Rosita Arvigo founded Ix Chel as a non-profit foundation in the 1980s to preserve the knowledge of traditional healers and promote sustainable forestry. Dr. Arvigo named the foundation, Ix Chel, after the Mayan goddess of medicine. Funding for Ix Chel comes from research grants and the sale of their Rainforest Remedies. These funds go directly to support Belizean Traditional Healers.

Dr. Arvigo was the apprentice of Don Eligio for 10 years. Don Eligio led Dr Arvigo to what is known today as the Rainforest Medicine Trail. The trail winds gently above the bank of the Macal River. During one of their walks in the forest to gather herbs, Don Eligio Panti showed Dr. Arvigo all the medicinal plants that were growing along the path. That path has been preserved, and it has become one of the major attractions for tourists who visit the Cayo District. Visitors to the Ix Chel Tropical Research Center can walk along the trail, now owned by Chaa Creek Cottages, and view the plants used in traditional Mayan medicine.


  • The foundation staff works to salvage plants from areas scheduled for clearing. The plants are then transplanted to nurseries and farms for organic cultivation. This demonstrates to decision makers that the rainforest is more valuable standing than destroyed.
  • Seminars for community health care volunteers and for nursing and pharmacology at the University College of Belize.
  • Informative conferences for practitioners of natural healing in Belize.
  • Working in collaboration with Michael Balick, the Director of the Institute of Economic Botany of the New York Botanical Garden, to begin the Belize Ethnobotany Project. Balick had received a contract from the National Cancer Institute to collect tropical plants for study and testing in the search for possible cures for AIDS and cancer. Because of this project over 2,000 plants have been tested.

REFERENCE Cayo District- Ix Chel Farms and the Don Eligio Panti Medicinal Trail. 28 Oct. 2003 <>.

Belize Explorer Crystal Paradise Resort. Ix Chel Tropical Research Foundation. 29 Oct. 2003 <>.

Delphi productions. Ix Chel tropical Research Foundation. 2001. 29 Sept, 2003 <