What would you do if you had “nature’s pharmacy” in your backyard?

17/05/2017 Mongabay - Kimberley Brown

Indigenous peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon rely on what grows around them to cure what ails them.

Photo: Mongabay

Photo: Mongabay

Tamia Yura, Ecuador – Benjamin Mamallacta Alvarado and his wife Dalia Tapuy were both recently sick, but instead of going to a pharmacy to pick up medication, they went into their backyard, which just happens to be in the Amazon rainforest. Born and raised in the Amazon, Alvarado has been using medicinal plants all his life from what is sometimes called “nature’s pharmacy.”

“You take out the essence of the leaf and mix it with lemon then put it directly into the nose, because here it will sting and attack the cold (virus),” Alvarado said while preparing an elixir for his wife. Three different local plants are in this particular mixture: ginger from the Amazon (Costaceae) (a green leafy plant, different from the ginger found in supermarkets), Guayusa (Ilex guayusa) (a common plant used in teas as an energizer, or caffeine alternative), and Kalanchoe (Crassulaceae) or Chubriyuyu (as it’s known in the local indigenous Quichua language, and used for the common cold).

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