Wade Davis, PhD, FLS

The Healing Forest: Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rainforest


2019 Advancing Naturopathic Medicine

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Presented by: Wade Davis, PhD, FLS

Between 25 and 40 percent of all modern drugs are derived from plants, and a
majority of these were first used as medicines or poisons in a folk context. The
gift of the shaman and the curandero, the herbalist and the witch include such
basic pharmaceuticals as cocaine and morphine, digitalis and curarine, aspirin
and quinine. With both the tropical rainforests and the indigenous peoples being
destroyed at a horrendous rate, ethnobotanists are now engaged in a final race to
discover the medical secrets of the plants before they are lost forever.

For three years Wade Davis traveled in the Andes and Northwest Amazon, living
among a dozen or more tribes as he searched for new sources of medicine for the
modern world. Journeys by jeep, mule, dugout, river raft and on foot led him to a
dozen or more indigenous groups including the Ika, Kamsa, Barasana, Cubeo,
Tukano and Paez of Colombia, the Kuna and Choco of Panama, the Kofan, Shuar
and Waorani of Ecuador, the Bora, Witoto and highland Quechua of Peru and the
Chimane and Aymara of Bolivia. Alone or with botanical colleagues, Davis made
some 6000 botanical collections which have since been distributed to herbaria
throughout the world. In this lecture Davis both reviews the results of his
expeditions and outlines the hopes and expectations of the ongoing program of
ethnobotanical exploration that today seeks from the forests new treatments for
cancer, AIDS and a host of actions that affect the well-being of all human