Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Shaman's Apprentice | Link TV

I watched this last night, The Shaman's Apprentice | Link TV, and it was fascinating, think of the movie Medicine Man (1992) with Sean Connery. The difference, this is reality,,,

In a small jungle hut, hundreds of miles from the nearest road, a man urges a frail woman to drink a brown liquid. Another man, notebook in hand, watches intently. The woman, weak from diabetes, raises the cup to her lips and swallows the bitter potion. By tomorrow her blood sugar level will be normal, and the ravages of her disease will wane for a month.

The healer is a Tirio Indian from the remote northeast corner of the Amazon in the little-known country of Suriname, South America. The man taking notes is Mark Plotkin, PhD, one of the most renowned ethnobotanists in the world. By studying the medicinal plants and healing practices of native peoples in the rain forest, Plotkin hopes to preserve the knowledge—and the ecosystems—that may lead to tomorrow's cures. His quest is a race against time: Enemies such as cancer, diabetes, AIDS, schizophrenia, deep depression, and bacterial infections are slowly gaining on the human species. Although treatments for these conditions exist, true remedies are in short supply.

Eighty-three percent of all antibiotics come from nature, Plotkin points out. Ethnobotany, the study of the relationship between people and plants, has led to the discovery of many of humankind's most important drugs: aspirin, morphine, quinine (for malaria), reserpine (for hypertension), vincristine (for pediatric leukemia), and many more. Twenty-five percent of all prescription medicines are derived from plants, and four out of five people worldwide use plants as components of their primary health care.

But botany alone rarely uncovers which plants have healing properties. Knowledge about how to use plants for healing is embedded in folklore and religious mysteries, and it's usually preserved through oral tradition. "Few, if any, therapeutic compounds from plants have been discovered by botanists," says Plotkin. "It's like Columbus—the Indians got there first." The knowledge held by natives must be sought out, and this labor can take decades.

Jungle Cure

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