MEDICINAL PLANTS OF THE AMAZON


Wasai Root, Source: rainforestcruises.com


The Amazon rainforest is known for its rich biodiversity, but few realize that this natural wealth goes far deeper than just the animals and beautiful flora. The rare plants of the Amazon not only create a unique natural environment, but have been used by ancient civilizations (and are still being used today) for their powerful medicinal properties.


The long and rich history of people using plants as medicine reaches back long before written history: fossil records show that medicinal plants were used 60,000 years ago, during the Paleolithic Era. The use of plants as medicine by different cultures is called ethnobotanic medicine.


With around 80,000 different species of plant covering its 5,500,000 square kilometres, the Amazon rainforest is home to the largest variety of plant life found anywhere in the world.


Currently around 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest plants

These medicinal plants may contain keys for curing many illnesses. This includes AIDS, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s drugs and hopefully many more. As we discover more about the Amazon jungle, the number of applications is only set to grow.


Currently around 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest plants, however only around 1% of existing jungle species have been scientifically tested so far. According to the US National Cancer Institute, 70% of the plants it has identified as having cancer fighting properties are found in the Amazon.


A great wealth of knowledge about the healing effects of plants in the Amazon is held by shamans. They are familiar with medicinal uses for hundreds of the plants around them in the rainforest. It is therefore essential to preserve not only the rainforests but also the tribes that live within.



Lapacho Tree, Source: rainforestcruises.com



SOME INTERESTING PLANTS OF AMAZON AND THEIR USE CASES

Lapacho Tree

This incredible medicinal plant is used to treat cancer, alleviate pain from chemotherapy, and fight infections.


Tawari Tree Bark

The bark of this treat has multiple anticancer properties and is useful in treating infection, cancerous cells, tumours, and inflammation.


Pusangade Motelo

This medicinal plant makes you happy! It’s used to relieve anxiety and has a calming effect on the consumer, a good alternative to clinically-produced psychotropic medications.


Brazilian Ginseng

An aphrodisiac, healing tonic, energizer, and immune system enhancer, Suma does a lot of good. On top of all that, it also has anti-cancer properties!


Cat’s claw

Currently being researched as a possible treatment for both HIV/AIDS and cancer, cat’s claw stimulates the immune system, helping those suffering from severe illness to fight back.



Main Sources: amazonaid.org, rainforestcruises.com, amazoncruise.net


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