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6 Reasons to Thank the Rainforest
on World Health Day

  • Wild Yams – Mayan women used them for centuries to help control the size of their families; since  the 1950s scientists used it to create the modern Birth Control Pill.


  • Fer De Lance Snakes – This Brazilian snake’s venom is well known among indigenous communities. It is now used as an ACE inhibitor to reduce blood pressure.


  • Chinchilla Tree – Quinine from the tree is a proven fever reducer and is still one of the few effective treatments for Malaria.


  • Ayahuasca – isn’t just used for spiritual and psychological healing, one of its compounds (Harmine) has shown efficacy in treating Diabetes.


  • Curare Linae– Indigenous communities coated arrows with a compound from this vine to go hunting. Today we use it to produce Tubocurarine, a component of the anesthetic used for eye surgeries and tonsillectomies, as well as to treat Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.


  • Dragon’s Blood Tree – has been used for centuries to treat stomach ailments, as well as skin abrasions, and rashes.  Today it is used to relieve symptoms from the side effects of several AIDS drugs.

Indigenous communities of the rainforest have a wealth of medical and botanical knowledge that is at risk of being lost. Our most promising source of new treatments is also being lost as our forests are cleared and poisoned. But by partnering with indigenous communities we give them the resources to protect both their ancient knowledge, and the incredible biodiversity that saves lives every day.  

Become a Rainforest Defender today and protect our forests, and life giving secrets they hold.

Wild Yam’s heart shaped leaves hold secrets known to Maya for thousands of years.

Ayahuasca is a potent psychoactive used by many indigenous communities in the Amazon.