The Healing Power of the Amazon

: Sushma Pherai
: Ronnie de Klein, Rafael Jantz & Mediavision
: Popular Places Magazine edition 20
3 mins read

The Amazon rainforest is the greenest and one of the most biodiverse places on our planet. It spreads across nine countries namely Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Guyana, French Guyana and Suriname covering 6.000.000 square kilometers. The Amazon basin provides more than 20% of our oxygen and is often referred to as “the lungs of our planet”. It is the world’s richest and most varied biological reservoir, containing several million species of insects, plants, birds and other forms of life, many still unrecorded by science.

This unique rainforest houses the largest living pharmacy in the world. The part of the Amazon forest that lies in Suriname is to a large extent nourished by the cleanest water on earth. Under these unique circumstances, generations of indigenous tribes live in harmony with and from nature, highly isolated and deeply hidden from society. Knowledge of the healing effects of plants from the rainforest has been passed on from generation to generation for thousands of years.

Early travelers to the Amazon were impressed by the number of medicinal plants known to its native peoples and their usage. Some 70 percent of the plants that the US National Cancer Institute considers to have potential anti-cancer powers are species found exclusively in the Amazon Rainforest. Today around a quarter of the active compounds in cancer drugs come from Amazon plants.

Amazon Conservation Team Suriname (ACT-SUR) is an international NGO that aims to enable Indigenous and Tribal people to sustainably care for themselves, the preservation of the rainforest, biodiversity and their own traditional cultures. The activities of ACT in Suriname started in 1999 through the ethnobotanical fieldwork of ACT co-founder Dr. Mark Plotkin, studying the relationship between people and the practical and traditional use of medicinal plants.

In the remote interior of Suriname, where outsiders may only reach the communities via airplane or very long boat trips, western health care is sporadic and sometimes nonexistent. ACT-SUR has established traditional health clinics in five of the communities, where healers and their apprentices administer traditional plant medicines to their patients. One of the outcomes of these clinics is that endangered knowledge of common medicines is being rediscovered and remembered.

ACT-SUR also supports initiatives to generate income in these communities, using non timber forest products (NTFP) that can be grown or produced sustainably. For the commercial operations of these activities such as logistics, marketing and sales, ACT-SUR has partnered with Green Child NV. Green Child is a Corporate Social Responsible Enterprise (CSR), a business practice that incorporates sustainable development into a company’s business model and has a positive impact on social, economic and environmental factors.

“The amazon is our passion and that is why we founded Green Child”, states the founder Mr. Pascal Tjon A Hung. “We want the world to become acquainted with our beautiful cultures, with our unspoiled nature and with the beneficial natural products produced by the Indigenous and Tribal people from that nature. We want to share the healing power of our rainforest as a whole and everything that lives in it with the world”.

Green Child and ACT-SUR work closely with local communities living in the interior of Suriname to provide them with a sustainable livelihood to improve their welfare and that of future generations without degrading the environment or natural resources. They mainly work with the women in the communities, because they have the least chances on the labor market. The women are trained in smart, clean and sustainable production techniques in order to optimally provide for their own livelihood, without harming nature. There is a lot of attention for maintaining knowledge of medicinal herbs and traditional medicine that is passed on from generation to generation, but has nowhere been recorded and is slowly but surely at risk of being lost.

At the same time, this is an important alternative to the many harmful and polluting industries such as the wood and gold industries that seriously threaten the rainforest. “By supporting and strengthening the local communities and by raising their awareness, they themselves ensure a more responsible direction and organization of their future communities and they themselves will protect the rainforest. Ultimately, by doing so, we are trying to contribute to protecting biodiversity, increase oxygen production by the Amazon and neutralizing the CO2 emissions caused worldwide.”

Green Child and ACT-SUR experts integrate compliance with HSEQ protocols into the production process. This ensures that food safety, environmental aspects and quality standards are sufficiently taken into account during the cultivation, harvesting, processing, storage and transport of the products. Hygienic, healthy and safe working conditions are ensured. “We are proud that we can bring high-quality products to the market in a socially responsible way, without harming nature”.

The brand is called ‘Amazon Wellness’ and all products have the healing powers of the Amazon and are 100% organic.

  • Indigenous herbal tea
  • Maroon herbal tea
  • Maroon pepper powder
  • Indigenous pepper powder
  • Highland rice
  • Maripa oil
  • Honey
  • Propolis

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