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The World's Medicine Cabinet

A quarter of the ingredients in medications come from rainforest plants.

Lapacho is the best-known remedy used in the U.S. from South American rainforests. It is used to cure cancers like Leukemia, fungal infections, parasites, bacterial infections, and viruses. And it is considered one of the world’s greatest immune boosting herbs.

Rainforest Plants Medicine Tall Lapacho Tree Bushy Lapacho Tree Crushed Lapacho tea leaves
Finding a cure for cancer is great, but not when you realize the rainforest is being destroyed too quickly to find these miracle cures. Rainforests once covered 14% of the Earth’s surface, now they only cover 6%. Trees are being cut down for timber and burned to create farm land. Hundreds of species of plants, animals, and insects go extinct every day as their rainforest habitats are destroyed. That means we must be losing thousands of possible cures to serious diseases regularly. People in indigenous tribes who know the forests have irreplaceable knowledge about these special plants and animals. They are losing their jobs educating others of the wonders of the rainforest.

Are there ways we can preserve the biodiversity of the rainforest yet continue discovering remedies to serious health problems? And is there anything you can do to help reverse deforestation?

Rainforest Kids Science curriculum connection: Unit 5: Chapter 1, Lesson 3, Grade 4; Unit 5: Chapter 1, Lesson 3, Grade 1

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