Unless we protect the land rights of tribal peoples, we will lose not only their vast knowledge of medicinal plants from which many modern medicines come from, but also many cures we have yet to discover.
Human beings have long depended on medicines from Nature to prevent and treat illnesses, and today the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 80 percent of the global population still relies on plants for primary healthcare.
For many of the 150 million tribal peoples, Nature provides a potent pharmacy that they can rely on, thanks to their detailed botanical knowledge; the upshot of a profound attunement to their ecosystems for thousands of years.
For example, the Yanomami of the Amazon drink the juice of the woody cat’s claw vine to relieve diarrhoea, and apply the bark of the copal tree to treat eye infections. And the Shuar of Ecuador and Peru use no less than 100 different species of plants solely for stomach ailments.