A fi sau a nu fi...liber

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Cancer and the " Healing Forests"

The Cancer and Disease Fighting Plants of the Rainforest

Friday, September 05, 2008 by: Tony Isaacs

One of my all time favorite websites is Dr. Leslie Taylor's Rain-tree.com and my favorite section of the website is the plant database she has painstakingly compiled. It is a database of the many plants and herbs used by indigenous peoples of the Brazilian and South American rain forests and it has information about historical uses, modern studies, plant compounds, side effects and more for each plant, as well as beautiful photos of each and every plant.

I urge everyone to go take a look and browse a bit -- words alone are not sufficient to describe it to fully appreciate it. Here is the link to the common plant name database:


You can also search by botanical name, ethnic uses, conditions and actions. As an example, some of the plants used by indigenous peoples for cancer include:

* graviola

* espinheira santa

* mullaca

* mutamba

* vassourinha

* bitter melon

* guacatonga

* simarouba

* cat's claw

* anamu

* pau d'arco

* fedegoso

* sangre de grado

* suma

* amargo

* copaiba

When you look carefully at the history of uses and the studies that have verified many of those uses, you will wonder why we do not see more of them used by modern medicine. The answer is sadly simple: you cannot patent a plant and so they are unprofitable and unattractive to pharmaceutical companies. In fact, they are viewed as competition and information about them as well as products that contain them are suppressed.

Besides the comprehensive plant database, the rain-tree website contains much, much more information about the rain forest and Dr. Taylor's passion for the forest and it's indigenous peoples is clear from the opening statement on her home page throughout the site:

"The Amazon Rainforest is the world's greatest natural resource -- the most powerful and bio-actively diverse natural phenomenon on the planet. Yet still it is being destroyed just like other rainforests around the world. The problem and the solution to rainforest destruction are both economic. Rainforests are being destroyed worldwide for the profits they yield -- mostly harvesting unsustainable resources like timber, for cattle and agriculture, and for subsistence cropping by rainforest inhabitants. However, if land owners, governments and those living in the rainforest today were given a viable economic reason not to destroy the rainforest, it could and would be saved. Thankfully, this viable economic alternative does exist. Many organizations have demonstrated that if the medicinal plants, fruits, nuts, oils and other resources like rubber, chocolate and chicle, were harvested sustainably -- rainforest land has much more economic value than if timber were harvested or if it were burned down for cattle or farming operations. Sustainable harvesting of these types of resources provides this value today as well as more long term income and profits year after year for generations to come."

As you will find out, the endangered rain forests really are the natural lungs and pharmacy of the earth -- and every one of us has a stake in trying to protect and save them.

So go, look, take a tour around the site, learn more about the valuable rain forest and enjoy. It's an educational treat!

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