Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice: An Ethnobotanist Searches for New Medicines in the Amazon Rain Forest

Mark J. Plotkin, Author Viking Books $22 (336p) ISBN 978-0-670-83137-1
The thrilling account of the 13 years Plotkin, vice-president of Ethnobotany at Conservation International in Washington, spent in the northeastern Amazon's primeval rain forest is a first-rate travel and adventure tale in which scientific lore, passionate advocacy of conservation and literary gifts are combined. Thanks to the trust and friendship the author inspired among the declining number of powerful shamans (``witch doctors'') and other Indians who considered him a ``harmless oddball,'' they welcomed him at tribal rituals and assisted him in identifying plants (60,000 yet unknown species, used to treat ills from testicular cancer to earache). They even shared secrets for making curare poison and other hallucinogens (which he tried). The author has also succeeded in having the indigenous people share in the profits from their plant-derived wonder drugs, and encouraged them to preserve their heritage of botanic lore and customs. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
MP3 CD - 978-1-4233-5864-0
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-14-012991-5
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