The International Center of Spiritual and Ancestral Wisdom (ICSAW) is an organization that is dedicated to preserving ancients’ wisdoms and traditions of indigenous cultures throughout the world.
For thousands of years, indigenous groups have made extensive use of the materials contained in the rainforest to meet their health needs.
Forest dwellers in Southeast Asia, for example, use around 6,500 different plants to treat their ills. Shamans were the first medical specialists in indigenous communities, and their traditional methods are known to be effective in treating both physical and psychological ailments.
The World Health Organization estimates that 80 percent of the people in developing countries still rely on traditional medicine for their primary health care needs. Without money, access to, or faith in modern facilities, indigenous people depend on shamans, herbal healers, and rainforest plants for their survival. Shamans also play a crucial role in helping scientists to discover the potentials of plants.
As one scientist has said, “Each time a medicine man dies, it is as if a library has been burned down. There is much yet to be learned from local shamans, yet their individual and cultural survival is seriously threatened as modern loggers, miners, multinational corporations, and landless farmers invade and decimate the forest.
Returning The Sacred To Humanity
Tropical forest plants serve as vital resources for the eradication of disease, but we could easily lose these plants as well as the traditional knowledge that can unlock their potential if tropical ecosystems and indigenous cultures are not preserved intact. The future health and welfare of humanity will be determined, to a great extent, by the fate of the rainforests.
There are no easy answers to the social and environmental crises facing the rainforest today. But one important step towards saving the rainforest is to increase public recognition of the importance of rainforest medicines in our modern pharmacopoeia and the importance of preserving the primary habitats of these flora. You can do your part by educating yourself and others about the rainforests and the forces that are destroying them.