Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice: An Ethnobotanist Searches for New Medicines in the Amazon Rain Forest

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9780670831371: Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice: An Ethnobotanist Searches for New Medicines in the Amazon Rain Forest
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An ethnobotanist recounts his experiences in the rain forests tracking the shamans whose knowledge of the curative powers of plants and herbs could hold the key to the cure for AIDS, cancer, and other life-threatening illnesses. 20,000 first printing. $20,000 ad/promo.

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A century ago, malaria was killing Washingtonians, Londoners, Parisians. Today HIV, along with various cancers, has taken its place among worldwide epidemics. Quinine, extracted from the cinchona tree of the Amazonian rainforest, quelled malaria; alkaloids taken from trees in the West African rainforest may well yield a cure for AIDS. Yet those woods, Mark Plotkin tells us, are fast disappearing, along with the native peoples who know the powers of the plants that dwell there. His account of wandering through the Amazonian jungles focuses on local knowledge about plants, whose uses range from the mundane to the magical. The rainforests of the world, Plotkin notes, are our greatest natural resource, an intercultural pharmacy that can cure woes both known and yet unvisited.

About the Author:

Mark J. Plotkin, Ph.D. is president of the Amazon Conservation Team and research associate at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History. He earned his academic credits at the universities of Harvard, Yale, and Tufts. Trained as an ethnobotanist, he conducts much of his research in tropical America.

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