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17 Medicinal Secrets Of The Amazon Rainforest

The rainforests are full of medicinal secrets that we may never know about. So far 90% of all drugs are derived from some sort of plant, both from rainforests and other areas of the world. The rainforest is, however, a largely untapped source of medicine. Here are 17 South American rainforest plants and animals that we have derived medicines from so far.

Cinchona Tree

Photo from: “Plants that changed the world: cinchona

Quinine derived from the cinchona tree in the South American rainforest and is mainly used to treat malaria. The drug is extracted from the bark of the tree; it is also used to treat lupus, arthritis, and leg cramps. Quinine is also a popular ingredient in mixed drinks; used as a flavoring. The World Health Organization suggests that medical practitioners use it as a second line of defense because of adverse side effects. Common side effects are headache, hearing impairment, and nausea.

Wasai Root

Photo from: “Top Ten Medicinal Plants from the Amazon

Wasai root is from the rainforests of South America. Its medicinal properties have not been fully researched. It is currently used as a diruetic and for kidney health. The root is dried and ground up then administered to the patient in a tea.

Coca Plant

Photo from: “Coca Plant: The Andean Elixir

Novocaine and cocaine are derived from the coca plant. The coca plant hails from South America and was initially used to combat fatigue. The favorite soft drink Coca-cola used to incorporate this plant into it as a stimulant. The drug has not been used in the soft drink for years due to regulations, but people still use cocaine in many regions of the world. The plant is used as an anesthetic, bone repair, rheumatism, headache, improved digestion, malaria, ulcers, and asthma.

Curare Liana

Photo from: “Meet The Plants

The Curare plant is native to Central and South America and is used to make tubocurarine. Tubocurarine is a muscle relaxant. Indigenous South Americans originally used it as a paralyzing poison in blow darts. When the dart hit prey animals, they became immobilized; then it could then be killed and used as a protein source for the tribe. Today it is used in anesthesia when patients need to be completely immobilized for delicate surgical procedures.

Pusangade Motelo

Photo from: “From Pant to Pill

Pusangade Motelo is from South America and it is known for its calming medicinal properties. People have used it to treat things like depression and anxiety. It certainly makes a good alternative to some of the harsh psychotroic medications curretnly on the market.

Wild Yams

Photo from: Gundry MD Team

Wild yams from South America contain diosgenin. Diosgenin is the precursor to hormones such as pregnenolone, cortisone, and progesterone. Wild yams are currently used in the commercial synthesis of these hormones. Yes, your birth control is made from potatoes. Wild yams have also been used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, cramps, blood sugar, and menopause symptoms. People do not usually eat these because they are bitter. They are usually ingested as a tea or in a tablet.

Bothrops jararaca

Photo from: The Reptile Database

Also called jararaca (hararaca) is a snake from South America with a viper like head. It was often referred to as Fer-De_Lance. The venom from this snake drops the blood pressure of the victim causing the victim to collapse. Scientists isolated captopril, the compound that causes the victim’s blood pressure to fall to treat hypertension. This isolate is the first of the family of Ace inhibitors on the market today.


Photo from: Alex Popovkin, Bahia, Brazil

Pilocarpus is the source of pilocarpine, a parasympathomimetic alkaloid. Pilocarpine is used to induce sweating or salivation. People with Sjogren’s Syndrome have blocked excretion glands; pilocarpine is used in these patients to enable them to sweat and relieve dry mouth. It is also used to alleviate ocular pressure in patients with glaucoma. The plant comes from South America, and the medicinal portion is the leaves.

Yerba Mate

Photo from: Mate Factor

Yerba Mate is a plant from the southern region of South America. It is a popular stimulant that contains amino acids and the health benefits of tea. Many people are choosing to use yerba mate over coffee because of the health benefits and it being perceived as a cleaner drink. You have probably seen it offered in your local coffee shop.

Lapacho Tree

Photo from: The Horticult

The pink lapacho tree is native to South America. It grows in the Andes, and the inner bark is used to make a medicinal tea. People from that area use the tea to treat stomach problems such as diarrhea, infections, and fever. Naturopaths recommend it for cancer, and there is currently research being done on the inner bark tea, usually called Taheebo, to see if it can be scientifically proven.

Tawari Tree

Photo from: Liliana Usvat

Tawari tree bark from Peru is known for curing many different types of ailments. In the western world, it is primarily used as an anti-inflammatory, fungicide, and anti-bacterial agent. It is also known to have anti-cancer properties and to be used as a laxative and to stimulate the immune system.


Photo from: Shaman’s Garden

Suma also called “Brazilian Ginseng” is a root with medicinal properties from South America. It is not like ginseng at all except for the fact that it is a root and similar in color. Sum root is used for many medical issues including fatigue, anxiety, and digestion. It has also been used as an aphrodisiac and for the treatment of ulcers. The most common mode of ingestion is from a tea prepared from the crushed root.

Spiked Pepper

Photo from: Australian Department of Agriculture

The spiked pepper or cordoncillo is native to many rainforests around the world. Indigenous people mainly use it as an antiseptic. People in Peru claim that it is good for ulcers and stopping hemorrhages; it is used to stop the bleeding when someone is cut. Europeans have used it for genital diseases. The main part of the plant that is used are the leaves.


Photo from: Lorax Metz

OK, the sloths don’t actually cure disease, it is the fungus and bacteria that can be found on them. Sloths in the Central and South American rainforests are home to microorganisms that have been shown to slow cancer growth. So far, these organisms have fought breast cancer cells and Chagas disease (an infection caused by a parasite).


Photo from: Royal Electro Homeo Industries

Uragoga is from South America and the widely used chemical emetine is derived from it. Emetine is used in the syrup of ipecac. Ipecac is not as heavily used in the west as it had been in the last century. Ipecac is still currently used to induce vomiting after someone has ingested poison.


Photo from: “From Pant to Pill

Sodo, also from South America is well known for its ability to help people to quit smoking, drinking, or other bad habits. Natives and people today use the plant to cure addiction. This is another medicine that still needs scientific research, but if you are in a tough spot, why not give it a try, it may work for you.

Plastic Eating Fungi from the Amazon

Photo from: SciTechDaily

This one is not necessarily a medicine, but it could solve the enormous plastic garbage problem that we have in the world today. There is plastic trash everywhere killing animals every day. We currently have no workaround for the fact that plastics do not biodegrade readily. This fungus called Pestalotiopsis microspore, from Ecuador, can eat and break down plastic. As technology around this fungus is developed, it will save the lives of animals and humans in the long run.

Rainforests are important sources of new medical treatments. Most medicinal resources from the rainforests of the world have not even been discovered yet. We have to do everything that we can to make sure that they don’t disappear.

The Workout Routines of These 11 Latina Celebrities

things that matter

The Workout Routines of These 11 Latina Celebrities

Have you ever wondered what your favorite celebrities do to maintain their gorgeous bodies? Although some people are genetically blessed with smooth skin, amazing curves, and a built-in 6-pack, for most people maintaining a Hollywood body takes work, and lots of it. Today, we’re going to explore the workout routines of some of our favorite Latina celebs, and bring you all their tips and tricks to help shake up your everyday workout routine.

1. Jennifer Lopez

Instagram @jlo

Bombshell J-Lo is the definition of a triple threat- she can sing, dance, and act (hello, have you seen The Wedding Planner?) Plus, with her smoking hot boyfriend Alex Rodriguez at her side, there’s no stopping her now.

Instagram @jlo

To keep looking so amazing at 46, J-Lo maintains a great fitness regime- starting with her healthy eating habits. She almost never drinks alcohol or coffee, and doesn’t smoke. She works out every day using the Tracy Anderson method, and makes sure to wash her face so the sweat doesn’t clog her pores. Even if she’s not performing that day, she makes sure to keep active through a dance cardio program like Zumba.   

2. Demi Lovato

Twitter @ddlovato

Texas-born Demi Lovato is primarily a singer now, but she first got her start in TV shows on the Disney Channel. Even though she’s had trouble with illicit substances in the past, now that she’s out of rehab, it’s likely she’ll be back to her regular workout routine in no time.  

Instagram @ddlovato

Demi gets her amazing buns, sculpted shoulders, and defined triceps through a specialized martial arts workout. She had it designed for her so that she could do it on the road, and even though the moves are all pretty simple, it’s exhausting to do. All of the moves work the entire body, so it’s super effective in a short amount of time.

3. Sofia Vergara

Instagram @sofiavergara

Curvy bombshell Sofia Vergara definitely has some abuelas to thank when it comes to her amazing figure- curves like that cannot be faked. The Modern Family star works out with two separate trainers- Gunnar Peterson (whose past clients include Kim Kardashian and Angelina Jolie), and Justin Gelband.

Instagram @sofiavergara

Sofia’s trainers makes sure that their workouts are effective for celebrity clients, who are often short on time and need to get their sweat on in 40 minutes or less. Sofia also avoids carbs, sugar and alcohol later in the day. If she overindulges, she’ll often do a food cleanse for a month or so to get back on track.

4. Jessica Alba

Instagram @jessicaalba

Actor and Honest Company founder Jessica Alba’s Latina genetics definitely play a role in her gorgeous physique. However, she’s not afraid to admit that she does a lot of work to maintain her beautiful bod. On days that she doesn’t work out, she makes exercise part of her family time by going on walks with her daughters.

Instagram @jessicaalba

On her workout days, she’ll wake up early (think 5:15 AM) to fit in a hot yoga or Spin class. Her favorite classes are YogaSculpt, a hot yoga full-body workout. She loves to work out with friends to keep herself accountable, and so the classes are more enjoyable.

5. America Ferrera

Twitter @AmericaFerrera

American-Honduran actress America Ferrera is one of the most outspoken activists within the Latina community. She’s worked for amazing organizations like Voto Latino and the Time’s Up legal defense fund, and spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Instagram @americaferrera

America recently spoke out about how being active and pushing her body to its limits has been incredibly empowering for her. She ran her first triathlon in 2017 and since then has trained for at least one more. She stopped weighing herself, and instead focuses on how she feels.

6. Salma Hayek

Instagram @salmahayek

Actress Salma Hayek loves to show off her body- especially her gorgeous cleavage – in dresses that fit and flatter her shape in incredible ways. 52-year-old Hayek was born in Mexico, and moved to the United States in 1991. She gave birth to her daughter Valentina in 2007, and since then has said that she doesn’t have time to work out.

Instagram @salmahayek

Instead of working out, Hayek claims that by holding her body in a specific way that helps tone muscles, she can maintain her enviable physique without regular exercise. She does enjoy yoga occasionally, and generally eats whatever she likes.

7. Penelope Cruz

Instagram @penelopecruzoficial

Although she first got her start as a model, Penelope Cruz has had a successful career as an actress since her first role in Hollywood in 1992. Married to actor and fellow Spaniard Javier Bardem, she gave birth to their two children Leo and Luna in 2011 and 2013, respectively.

Instagram @penelopecruzoficial

After giving birth to her children, Cruz got back into pre-baby shape by following the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes lean proteins, veggies, and healthy fats like olive oil. She loves to take Bikram yoga classes, which she says give her energy, and she does lots of dance workouts at home.

8. Eva Mendes

Instagram @evamendes

As an actress and mom of two young girls, Eva Mendes doesn’t have much time to spend on herself. When she gets time alone, she usually heads to the gym, or does a workout at home, between three and five times a week.

Instagram @evamendes

Mendes admits that her indulgences are all pretty normal- she loves candy, especially Cadbury Crème Eggs, and her mom’s Cuban black beans. To ensure her skin is glowing, she takes fish oil supplements, and uses coconut oil as a facial moisturizer.

9. Cameron Diaz

Instagram @camerondiaz

Although Cameron Diaz has always been gorgeous, lately her sculpted arms are giving us some real fitness envy. Even though she says that she’s retired from acting- her last role was in the 2014 film Annie- she’s still been seen out and about in Hollywood.

Instagram @camerondiaz

To get her incredible arms, Diaz works out with trainer Teddy Bass, who got her to switch from lighter weights and more reps to a system that uses heavier weights and fewer reps. He also makes sure to include confidence-boosting exercises, which help pull the shoulders back and improve the posture.

10. Christina Milian

Instagram @christinamilian

Singer/songwriter, actress, and mom of one Christina Milian is rocking a ridiculously hot body- and isn’t afraid to show it off. When she’s not hanging out with her 6-year-old daughter Violet, recording, or filming, she tries to get in as much exercise as possible.

Instagram @christinamilian

She doesn’t like high-intensity workouts, so she tends to stick to more sedate activities like hiking. She does love cardio and strength training, and will often pop on one of her own albums to help pump her up.

11. Eva Longoria

Instagram @evalongoria

Since her divorce from basketball star Tony Parker seven years ago, Eva Longoria has vowed to always maintain her health through exercise and eating healthy, protein-rich foods. She loves to mix up her routine, but running is definitely her favorite activity. She does it wherever she is in the world.

Instagram @evalongoria

Every day, she tries to work out before she eats breakfast. Sometimes it’s a run, or yoga, and then she’ll tuck into plate of egg whites with spinach and turkey bacon, or fruit and yogurt. She eats a healthy lunch, but will often indulge her cravings for dinner. When she’s not running or doing yoga, she’ll take a SoulCycle class, or go to pilates.

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