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close this bookOutreach No. 66 - Drugs Part 3: Herbal Medicine (New York University - TVE - UNEP - WWF, 40 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentArticles on herbal medicines that have appeared in back issues of OUTREACH
View the documentContents
View the documentPlants that kill can often cure (plus exercise)
View the documentThe effect of plant chemicals on animals
View the documentA disappearing storehouse of medicinal plants
View the documentThe effect of plant chemicals on humans
View the documentWar on drugs: the tobacco connection
View the documentTraditional herbal medicine and “modern” medicine
View the documentUsing local plants to treat intestinal worms
View the documentTreating cuts and wounds
View the documentUnderstanding medicinal plants teaching materials available from World Neighbors
View the documentTraditional medicine to graduate
View the documentFilm: Jungle pharmacy
View the documentIndigenous treatment for drug dependence in Thailand
View the documentIdentifying health-protecting customs
View the documentA simple and effective cough syrup we can prepare at little cost from the plants we find around us
View the documentDiscovering the uses of medicinal plants in your neighbourhood
View the documentFilm and teaching suggestions - Herbal medicine: fact or fiction?
View the documentPills and potions
View the documentRevival of traditional medicine in Amazonia
View the documentDecode the drug
View the documentBiodiversity and health
View the documentBarefoot doctors
View the documentHow a rainforest in Western Samoa was saved

Film: Jungle pharmacy

FILM RESOURCES

The information below is taken from:
MOVING PICTURES BULLETIN issue: January 1989.
MOVING PICTURES BULLETIN, published by TVE, is a quarterly guide to films on development and the environment.

COUNTRY: UK
YEAR: 1988
LENGTH: 52’
LANGUAGE: English
PRODUCTION CO: Central Television for Channel 4, with WWF International and Television Trust for the Environment
PRODUCER: Herbie Girardet
DIRECTOR: Jamie Hartzell
DISTRIBUTOR: Central Independent Television International, 35-38 Portman Square, London WIA 2HZ. Telex: 24337
THIRD WORLD DISTRIBUTION: Television Trust for the Environment, 46 Charlotte St. London WIP ILX. Telex: 291721

As international concern grows over the plight of the world’s remaining tropical rainforests, JUNGLE PHARMACY investigates the untapped wealth of medicinal plants now threatened with extinction in the Amazon - and the traditional knowledge of the shaman, the tribal healers, whose fate is bound up with that of the forests.

Over a quarter of Western medicines contain plant toxins - half deriving from tropical forest species. Forest plants have been the source of some of the most effective drugs in the history of pharmacology; quinine - crucial in the fight against malaria; curare, used as a muscle relaxant in major surgery; Madagascar’s rosy periwinkle, providing an important new treatment for leukaemia and Hodgkin’s disease. There is even the possibility that, in the future, tropical forest species may yield a cure for Aids.

But so far only 2% of forest flora have been screened for their pharmaceutical potential. Jamie Hartzell films a medicinal plant course in the Peruvian jungle village of Santo Rosa, where groups of Indians have come together to pool their knowledge of plant remedies. The use of plants varies from tribe to tribe: the aim of the course is to keep the knowledge of their properties alive. Many of these remedies are currently being investigated in the research department run by Professor Norman Farnsworth at Chicago’s University of Illinois. Even if the research yields no marketable drugs, it provides solid medical justification of their use by the Indians.

The danger is that Western drug companies will simply exploit local knowledge of plant species for their own profit, without the Indians reaping any of the economic benefit. This, says anthropologist Darrell Posey, would be just another form of neo-colonialism - ransacking a systematic knowledge built up over thousands of years.

Posey has spent the last 12 years in northern Brazil studying the Kayapo Indians and their use of the forest. The Indians, he believes, demonstrate an ideal model for sustainable development, managing the forest in a way that actually increases its biological diversity. And biological diversity may be the key to feeding a growing world population. As Dr Albers Schonberg, director of natural products at Merck, New Jersey, explains: “if we want genetic engineering, we need genetic diversity.” The hope must now be that new scientific interest in the flora and fauna of the tropical forests can bring a halt in their wholesale destruction.

HOW TO GET HOLD OF THE FILMS

AVAILABILITY: Unless otherwise specified, the distributor deals with requests for both TV sales and non-theatric use (ie, showing the films to a non-fee-paying audience). Some films may only be available for broadcast. Films available for non-theatric use are usually supplied on VHS cassettes which you can keep. Some films can be borrowed free of charge or hired for a small fee.

FORMATS: Most films are available on all video cassette formats, (U-Matic High Band, U-Matic Low Band, VHS and Betamax), and on 1” tape for broadcasters. Some films may also be available on 16 mm. Always specify which formal you require.

LANGUAGE VERSIONS: If the film is not available in your language, you can usually obtain an international version (ie, sound without commentary) and a commentary script which can be translated. This enables you to dub the film into your own language.