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Seminar Topics for Amazon and Machu Picchu Tour Set
Seminar Topics for Amazon and Machu Picchu Tour Set

Rejuvenation of the “Pharmacy from the Rainforest” ethnobotanical tour, sponsored by ABC and the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research (ACEER), is barely half a year away, and the program for this joint tour is close to completion.

This year’s tour includes trips through the pristine areas of the Amazon rainforest in southern Peru, a visit to the majestic Andes, and sightseeing at the fabled “lost” city of Machu Picchu, the Inca stronghold situated atop a mountain and missed by the Spanish conquistadors during their conquest of Peru in the 1530s. The city remained “lost” until American explorer Hiram Bingham rediscovered it in 1911.

Seminars on indigenous botanicals and the habitat of the rainforest will be presented throughout the trip, focusing on the flora found in each area of the ecosystem. Most of the topics and presenters have been determined for the tour, and continuing education credit is available for physicians and pharmacists.

World-famous ethnobotanist and ABC Board of Trustees member Jim Duke, PhD, will lead several seminars on various subjects: • Amazonian Food Farmacy (discussion of original Amazonian plants and their health potential); • Father Nature’s Food Farmacy; • El Frutal Medicinal (tropical medicinal fruit orchard); • Green Farmacy Revisited (disease by disease list of temperate and tropical medicinals).

Dr. Duke will also give a lecture with traditional Amazon shaman and healer Don Antonio Montero titled, “Shamanistic Polypharmacy and Monopharmacy of the Amazon.”

Mark Blumenthal will make three presentations during the tour: • Reliable (and Unreliable) Sources of Information on Herbs; • Issues and Challenges in Herbal Safety; • And an update on Herb Regulation.

Other possible lectures not yet finalized include ones on unique biological activities of botanicals, the role of traditional healing, herb-drug interactions, medicinal herbs for women’s and children’s health, and the relative value of whole plants versus standardized products.

The tour also includes a visit to Tambopata at Inkaterra, ACEER’s new facilities and base of operations near Puerto Maldonado in southern Peru, and a trip along their new rainforest canopy walkway. The walkway will consist of an ascent tower, 40 meters of walkways among the canopy trees, and a descent tower. The walkway should be completed by October in time for the ABC/ACEER tour. A naturalist guide will lead a special presentation on life in the treetops.

Tours of the gardens include the main Jardin de Plantas Medicinales, the Children’s Garden, the 3.5 km Useful Plants Trail, and the Nature Interpretation Center with an exhibit designed by the National Geographic Society, Madre de Dios: River of Change. There will also be a visit to a local farm to see agricultural practices and displays of local food, medicine, and floral species.

The tour is a wonderful and educational way to see and experience the Amazon and the Andes first-hand, and all are welcome, so sign up now.

For more information, please go to the ABC website at default.asp?c=ed_tours, or contact Stacy Elliot with ABC at the American Botanical Council or call 512-926-4900, ext. 101. To register, contact ACEER President Roger Mustalish at or call 610-738-0477.

—Jon Lucksinger