In 1983, in Peru there were only a few isolated studies worth mentioning, conducted by university professors and researchers attempting to include Traditional Medicine and Natural Medicine into the university curricula. However, their efforts either did not materialize or only achieved limited academic success.

When in 1999 Fr. Edmund Szeliga was asked how he would define Andean Phytotherapy, he replied: “As an invaluable cultural legacy undergoing academic development”.

Edmund Szeliga, sdb
in IPIFA - Chaclacayo, 2002

Did this prompt the decision to establish the Peruvian Institute of Andean Phytotherapeutic Research? No, as a matter of fact. This Institute was actually formed, unexpectedly, at the initiative of a Spanish citizen who had come from North America where he had been receiving cancer treatment, until someone there suggested that he should contact Fr. Szeliga by phone. Once in Lima, impressed by the favourable results of the initial treatment that he was advised to follow, the patient proposed that the service which was being provided in an individual and private manner should be institutionalized. Father Szeliga agreed, although not precisely for academic reasons, but bearing in mind the pressing needs of the population as far as healthcare is concerned.

So it was that between April and May 1983, thanks mainly to the above-mentioned patient’s persistent determination -even though he was only passing through Lima- IPIFA was legally incorporated as a private, non-profit organization for scientific, medical-healthcare and promotional purposes, in which licensed health professionals have been providing services since the end of 1984.

Climbing the Andean counterfoot, 1998

Among the eight friends and collaborators who initially contributed to the emergence of this Institute we find: Ing. Javier Santolalla S. first co-founder associate together with Miss Constanza Barera C., Mr Juan Alfonso Aspillaga P. and Dr. IƱigo Aspillaga P.