hotscience header The shamans of the Amazon use the trees and plants in their surroundings to make all the medicines they need—everything from pain killers to antibiotics to earache drops.

For those of us who are used to going to a pharmacy to get our medicine, these skills may seem beyond our grasp, even magical. But it was not always this way. Throughout the history of North America—and even today—plant specialists have practiced ethnobotany.

Click on each plant to learn how it can be used medicinally

pine needles and bark mint leaves garlic cloaves

(pine, mint, garlic)

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