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Top 10 Medicinal Plants of the Amazon

  |   Amazon Facts

The Amazon rainforest is known for its rich biodiversity, but few realize that this natural wealth goes far deeper than just the animals and beautiful flora. The rare plants of the Amazon not only create a unique natural environment, but have been used by ancient civilizations (and are still being used today) for their powerful medicinal properties. From anxiety to infertility, to cancer and AIDS, these medicinal plants have long been used to heal all of humankind’s ailments- and we’ve likely only discovered a small percentage of them. Here are just 10 of the most useful medicinal plants of the Amazon rainforest (though there are thousands more!), and what they can be used for. 


The Wasai tree's Red Roots. 

The Wasai tree's Red Roots. 

1. Wasai

Great for kidney health, the root of the wasai tree is often ground up and prescribed as a diuretic.



2. Lapacho

Seventy percent of plants with anticancer properties exist only in the Amazon, and this is one of them! Currently, this incredible medicinal plant is used to treat cancer, alleviate pain from chemotherapy, and fight infections.



Cordoncillo Plant

Cordoncillo Plant

3. Cordoncillo

Long used by native cultures, this plant is useful as an anesthetic for those who are ill or have suffered an injury. By simply chewing on the leaves, your mouth will go numb. Rub it on a wound for the same effect. 



4. Tawari Tree Bark

The bark of this treat has multiple anticancer properties, and is useful in treating infection, cancerous cells, tumors, and inflammation. 



The magical Amazon rainforest. 

The magical Amazon rainforest. 

5. Sodo

Forget nicotine patches, because the aromatic sodo plant can be used to cure addiction (including alcoholism). 



6. Pusangade Motelo

This medicinal plant makes you happy! It’s used to relieve anxiety and has a calming effect on the consumer, a good alternative to clinically-produced psychotropic medications. 



The Amazon jungle to filled with medicinal plants, many of which have not been discovered. 

The Amazon jungle to filled with medicinal plants, many of which have not been discovered. 

7. Cola de raton (Rat’s Tail)

While the name hardly suggests it, cola de raton is used to help with digestion.

8. Canellila

Often used to treat women with ovarian cysts, Canellila is also believed to be one of the medicinal plants that could increase the likelihood of conception.

Suma Root

Suma Root

9. Brazilian Ginseng (Suma)

An aphrodisiac, healing tonic, energizer, and immune system enhancer, Suma does a lot of good. On top of all that, it also has anticancer properties!



10. Shapumvilla

Said to have coagulant properties, this medicinal plant is used to stop bleeding. Very convenient if you get any cuts while exploring the Amazon.



The Amazon Rainforest produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen, 20% of the world’s fresh water, and an innumerable collection of medicinal plants. The above are only 10 of 150,000 species of plants found in the rainforest, many of whose uses have yet to be discovered. As we work to protect the Amazon Rainforest, it’s essential that we remember the potential cures that lie within in the form of medicinal plants. So far, this includes plants that can be used for AIDS, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s drugs and cures, and hopefully many more in the future!


View our Top 7 Amazon Superfoods article to see how you can be adding these powerful fruits into your daily diet and Contact Us for information regarding our Amazon River Cruises and Tours

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About Rainforest Cruises

Rainforest Cruises is a boutique travel company specializing in Amazon river cruises and tours, providing you with the finest collection of cruises in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands and Panama. As South American travel experts we have all the advice you need to help you find and book your dream cruise and an unforgettable adventure of a lifetime.


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The Johannson family encounter a sloth on their rainforest cruise.
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