The Amazon Rainforest produces more than 20 per cent of the world’s oxygen, 20 per cent of the world’s fresh water and is home to over 150,000 species of plants. It has long been a symbol of fertility and femininity as the richest biological incubator on the planet.
This Rainforest also represents a mysterious, powerful sacred link between humans and nature. It supports millions of plant, animal and insect species – a showcase of chemical invention. In these natural archives, drugs like quinine, immune-system boosters, muscle relaxants, steroids such as cortisone, blood thinners such as Coumadin, antibiotics, anti-parasitics and cancer drugs are found. They are the source of some of the most widely used and lifesaving medications.
More importantly, there are new drugs still awaiting discovery: drugs for AIDS, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s. All the major pharmaceutical companies as well as many scientific researchers are currently conducting studies on exciting new drugs emerging from jungle plants and studying the indigenous plant knowledge and the specific plants used by native shamans and healers. Together with genomics, it is the most promising area of research for new cures today.
Indigenous people’s empirical plant knowledge is now, finally, being widely accepted and respected by the scientific community. Rich in beneficial nutrients, phytochemicals and active constituents, these plants have been used by indigenous people of the Rainforest for their survival, physical and mental health, and well-being for centuries. However, extracting these secrets from the jungles is difficult and time-consuming. More seriously, valuable ancient knowledge and nature’s gifts are being lost at an alarming rate.