The Amazon Rainforest, the largest rainforest on Earth covering 1.2 billion acres, contains so much more than can be seen by the human eye.1 Aside from the vast green landscape, this particular rainforest is home to hundreds of thousands of living organisms. Among many others, it also happens to produce seven amazing herbs that have powerful properties beneficial to human beings.
1. Guarana (Paullinia cupana)
Native to Brazil, this "seed of youth" is known for its ability to combat fatigue and improve stamina. While high in sugar content, flavored soft drinks are a typical way to consume guarana. This energy-boosting, caffeine-supplying fruit has also been known to increase resistance to pain. Guarana is available in a supplement form and is added to various energy drinks.
2. Cacao (Theobroma cacao)
Widely recognized as the main ingredient of the beloved chocolate, cacao is produced in three million tons of beans every year. Thanks to the alkaloid theobromine, it is known to be a mood enhancer, as well as a stimulant. Also boasting an ability to improve energy levels, no wonder why cacao beans and seeds are so popular. This multifaceted bean is now used to make butter, powder, nibs, and milk, as well as cosmetic products, such as soaps and body butters.
3. Sacha Inchi (Plukenetia volubilis)
Also known as Inca peanut or mountain peanut, sacha inchi is a native to the Amazon rainforest. Sacha inchi seeds contain impressive amounts of lean protein, which is key for maintaining and building muscle mass. Thy are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for reducing the risk of heart disease and metabolic disorders. Sacha inchi is becoming increasingly available in different forms, such as capsules, oil, and powder, making it an easy addition to a healthy diet.
4. Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana)
Low in calories and carbohydrates, stevia has proven to be a suitable substitute for sugar. Aside from its naturally sweet flavor, stevia is also able to balance blood sugar levels and manage diabetes. Inhabitants of Brazil and Peru have been using stevia to sweeten their teas and medicines for thousands of years, and now it has become a popular natural sweetener all over the world.
5. Acai (Euterpe oleracea)
Acai is all the rage in the smoothie and juice world. Thanks to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions, acai berries are celebrated for their fantastic taste as well as their medicinal value. In addition to the tasty berries, acai leaves have been used to make hats, baskets, and roof thatches.
6. Camu Camu
Camu camu is another famous fruit from the Amazon rainforest, mainly known for its astounding vitamin C levels. These tart berries have been shown to possess powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Outside of South America, camu camu powder is the most common presentation as it is rare to find fresh berries.
Still unknown in the Western world, aguaje is a tropical fruit with unique medicinal properties. It contains phytoestrogens and other compounds that ease the effects of hormonal fluctuations, making the fruit useful for relieving feminine ailments. It is also an excellent source of vitamin A.
As more and more of its treasures are being discovered, the Amazon Rainforest is proving more incredible than anyone could ever predict. In addition to its jaw-dropping beauty, this rich biosphere is capable of producing life-altering herbs for many, many years to come.
- Columbus State University. (n.d.). Saving the Rainforest. Retrieved October 26, 2021 from http://csc.columbusstate.edu/summers/Outreach/RainSticks/fRainforestFacts.htm