Medicinal Plant Research

A study conducted in 1995 concluded that only one-eighth of all drugs that can be potentially developed from the rainforests of the world have been discovered (Mendelsohn and Balick). Further, many of the Peruvian botanical and ethnopharmacological explorations have been very patchy, with large areas of the eastern Andes and lowland Amazonia not yet properly explored. In the face of these unmet opportunities, Rios Nete will serve as a research hub where existing healing plants may be further researched and properly catalogued, a clearinghouse where new plants discovered on expeditions may be analyzed, and an expansive nursery where both common and rare medicinal plants are sustainably harvested.

Healers, ethnobotanists, herbalists, and research interns will be working continuously to assemble a compendium of Amazonian plants with medicinal value. Information for each entry will include botanical verification (Latin binomial, synonyms, vernacular names); parts of the plants used for the preparation and the appropriate methods of preparation (boiling, crushing); recommendations for proper consumption (dosages, frequency); and instructions for agricultural production and collection. Additionally, the research team will send the plants to appropriate laboratories to perform an array of toxicology tests to scientifically affirm each plant’s safety and establish any warnings for their use.