It’s estimated seven out of ten Ecuadorians use medicinal plants. Ethnobiologist Omar Vacas has spent 15 years researching local flora used for centuries to cure diseases. He published an article about traditional medicine used by the Kichwa people in the Napo jungle province. He says the Kichwas are often unaware that this info can be useful in developing pharmaceutical drugs. For example, balsa can reduce labor pains. There are 23 conditions including toothache and rheumatism that can be cured by plants used by the Kichwas. These include uña de gato (cat’s claw), ortiga brava, achiote de venda, palo de tortuga, sábila (aloe), ruda, dulcamara, sangre de drago (dragon’s blood), chancapiedra, chaya, valeriana, boldo, condurango and zarzaparrilla.
Frog = Sapo in the Spanish language, but tribes which inhabit Ecuador’s Amazon jungle have many other names. Lodges in the rainforest may have a library of books for guests to read, and one of the best is Sapos: Ecuador Sapodiverso (2008, pictured).
There are over 1,000 known frog species in the Amazon basin. They are the most abundant amphibians, often nocturnal, mostly occupying the trees and laying eggs away from water (to avoid predators). In such a humid environment, they have no need for streams, ponds and pools to maintain proper respiration through their skin.