Ethnobotanical Tour from Posada Amazonas
In the Peruvian rainforest, there are hundreds of bird species that call from high in the sunny canopy and sing haunting whistled tunes from the dim understory. Macaws and parrots screech as they fly overhead, Red Howler Monkeys utter their deep, loud vocalizations at dawn and dusk, and cartoon-like toucans yelp from tall snags. Hundreds of frogs stay concealed in the surrounding vegetation, wild cats like Jaguars, Pumas, and Ocelots prowl the undergrowth, and a bewildering array of insects chirp, chitter, and hide in the foliage.
Nevertheless, the impressive animal biodiversity in Tambopata has its equal in the numbers and types of plants that make up the foundation of the rainforest. There are literally thousands of species of plants in the rainforests around Posada Amazonas and most have developed an even more incredible variety of compounds as defenses against the countless herbivores that would eat their leaves and tunnel into their trunks.
The natural chemicals developed by rainforest plants have been investigated and used by native Amazonian peoples for thousands of years. In the natural laboratory of the Peruvian rainforest, plants have been extracted and used for medicinal purposes long before modern techniques and treatments were developed. In Tambopata, many people from the native community still go to their local shaman (a traditional healer) to receive treatments for everything from sleeplessness to cancer.
A twenty minute boat ride downriver from the Amazon jungle lodge of Posada Amazonas will bring you to Centro Ņape, a traditional community clinic that produces medicines from rainforest plants and administers them to patients who either cannot afford to receive treatment in town or prefer traditional medicines (link to articles about Ayahuasca, Una de Gato and or Traditional Uses of Rainforest Plants). Don Honorato (a shaman from the Native Community of Infierno), or one of his assistants, will take you on a unique tour of Centro Ņape to explain the uses of various medicinal plants. After the tour, you will have the opportunity to sample some for yourself.