Opening the Way for Our Future Generations
By Chitra Gunderson



“On the trail of an amazing discovery he finds an explosive adventure! He turned his back on civilization, only to discover he had the power to save it.”
— The Medicine Man

Watching the movie, “The Medicine Man,” in the early 1990’s was probably the first time I realized that the rainforest was in danger and valuable plant life was being destroyed. A message so strong that it sank into my heart and surfaced again eight years later when I came into contact with “Amazon” John Easterling, the Founder and CEO of Amazon Herb Company, quickly realizing that he was a Real Life Medicine Man, with the power to help save civilizations.

With vision so broad that it crosses borders to touch lives, and a mission to make the world a better place to live for all, Amazon John, fearlessly treks through Amazonian jungles, boats days upstream to visit remote villages… at one point being captured and held hostage for three days! In the face of difficulties and danger, Amazon John’s perseverance continues to benefit the indigenous communities, rainforest lands, and the health of modern civilization.

In 2006, John helped ten communities along a 100-mile stretch of the Rio Pisqui River form a Federation. The purpose of the federation was to ensure the communities had the say to protect and preserve the land, plants, animals and bodies of water in their region, and to make their own decisions about their future and the future of their tribal forest land.

After forming the federation, John’s next step was to have the surrounding rainforest land deeded and titled to the individual communities along the river — 12,000 to 190,000  acres per community! Having their lands legally titled is the biggest and most important step in protecting their communities, their rights to make decisions, and preserving the rainforest,” says John. So, now two years’ later… What’s the progress?

John explained, “Surveying the lands, mapping and having them deeded is a progression and a process that takes time — it may take another year before it is all complete. At this point, four of the ten communities have been completely surveyed. Next month we will begin to survey the remaining six communities. After the surveys are complete final maps will be drawn up.”

“The significant thing,” John continued, “is that there is oil in that part of the jungle along the Rio Pisqui River. Oil exploration companies have been contacting the communities trying to convince them that allowing them to explore for oil will bring huge financial benefits.” 

Of course the first thing is to have the land deeds and titles in place so the indigenous people have the power to determine their own future. With the power to make decisions about the use of the jungle lands, knowing the potential consequences of their decision is urgent.

“While the surveying and deeds are being prepared for title,” John explained, “our role with the Rio Pisqui Federation and other communities is to make sure they have the information and education about potential consequences of oil exploration and knowledge of what is happening in areas that have already allowed it. Also, to help them understand that self-interested oil companies pose a threat to their long-term well-being… we are giving them the information necessary to make an educated decision.”

For instance, at a recent meeting to re-elect the Federation of Rio Pisqui board members, John and Amazon Herb Company representatives passed out information about the effect oil exploration has had on other communities. One example in the nearby Ecuadorian rainforest, a community agreed to allow oil exploration believing what they had been told — that there would just be a hole in the ground without any disturbance to the forest. What really happened was an environmental disaster: Oil bubbled up all over the ground, animals died, plants were destroyed, and children are sick!
Amazon John is providing channels of information so  that the communities can proceed with caution and awareness. So, whatever they decide about oil exploration, it will be based on knowledge of the potential environmental and health consequences.

Educational assistance and supplies is another important project of Amazon John’s. Last year only two of the ten Rio Pisqui communities had schools for the children. Within the last year, Amazon Herb Company has supplied fifteen education scholarships to youths 14-18 years of age in the Porvenir and Rio Pisqui communities. Some students are attending Lima University on full scholarships with everything supplied for them, including their room and board, books and, more recently, computers.

Amazon Herb Company has just recently partnered with the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research (ACEER), to provide educational assistance in the Amazon.
John explains, “ACEER has already developed a program in Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado, which provides a proven curriculum, including ecology and sustainability. It also provides training for teachers, books, desks, and buildings where necessary. This partnership with ACEER will open up a new educational initiative in the Rio Pisqui area.”

For just a limited time, ACEER has a donor who will match funds of $2,500 donations or more. Any size donations will be accepted by the Amazon Herb Company. When donations cumulatively reach $2,500 they will be passed on to ACEER and matched thereby doubling the benefit to the educational programs in the rainforest.

Often taken for granted, our most precious commodity supplied by the Amazon Rainforest is the medicinal plants. For instance, Una de Gato, called “Opener of the Way” by Dr. Brent W. Davis, has the ability to cleanse the entire intestinal tract. In fact, Una de gato (uncaria tomentosa variety) is recognized as one of the most important medicinal plants of the entire world pharmacopoeia.

Listening to an audio CD, Phillip N. Steinberg, Nutritionist and leading authority in North America on Una de Gato (Cat’s Claw) explained, “It is important to note there are approximately 60 different uncaria species that grow in tropical rainforests throughout the world. However, only two are known to be native to Peru: uncaria tomentosa, and guianerisis. Both have similar qualities and both are commonly known as Cat’s Claw or Una de Gato. However, the general consensus among Peruvian physicians and researchers is that uncaria tomentosa is somewhat superior, based on chemical analysis and clinical evaluation.”

“According to Dr. Ramon Ferrara, a Harvard educated botanist at San Marcus University in Lima, Peru, there are 10 other herbs native to Peru which are also called Cat’s Claw, or Una de gato. To make it even more confusing, there is an acacia species that grows in the southern United States also known as Cat’s Claw, or Una de gato. I mention this because the worldwide demand for uncaria tomentosa is growing at a very rapid pace. Because of this, many unscrupulous companies are jumping on the bandwagon in an attempt to cash in on this growing phenomenon. There is even one company that claims to be selling a unique variety of uncaria tomentosa, when in fact there is only one variety. It is most important you purchase the correct Cat’s Claw from a reliable source if you expect to see the kind of results I am going to be talking about..."

So who were the right companies? Mr. Steinberg endorsed the Amazon Herb Company whose operation is based in Peru, and is harvesting the real thing: uncaria tomentosa.
Mr. Steinberg continued, “Traditionally, the indigenous people of Peru have used both the inner bark and root of uncaria tomentosa (Una de Gato) to prepare a tea in the form of a decoction. This tea would then be consumed several times per day as a treatment for tumors and other growths, arthritis, bursitis, rheumatism, diabetes, acne, PMS, female hormonal imbalances, and prostrate problems in men.”

On a more personal note, I use Cat’s Claw daily. I use it with my children, and have shared the herb with numerous friends and relatives. I have seen ear and upper respiratory infections clear up in 48 to 72 hours. I have used drops of tea in the eyes to clear up conjunctivitis. I have used the powdered herb between the toes to clear up athlete’s foot.

And I know of other individuals having positive results with sinus infections, hypoglycemia, allergies, shingles, menstrual irregularities, prostrate problems, diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and even lupus. Unlike herbs such as Goldenseal and Echinacea, which generally should only be taken for acute conditions short term, Cat’s Claw is a powerful adaptogen with significant antioxidant properties. This makes it suitable to be used as a preventative measure long-term.”

Without people like Amazon John, who are pro-actively taking steps to protect the rainforest, we run the risk of losing the earth’s most valuable resource of medicinal plants. In our society’s current state of declining health where terminal diseases are the norm rather than the exception, where cancer has become an epidemic of “when you get it” rather than “if you get it,” we can no longer take the chance.

With every acre of jungle that disappears there may be a plant lost that is the answer to our health dilemmas and without the indigenous communities, the shaman’s knowledge of the plants will also be lost forever, and the plant will be just another flower in the forest.

For more information about where to send ACEER fund donations, call (888) 310-2570.  To learn more about Una de Gato (uncaria tomentosa) and other Amazon Herb formulas, call (888) 310-2570 or visit To receive a sample package of Una de Gato ($15 value), send a $10 money order along with your name, address, and phone number to Rainforest Canopy, P.O. Box 712, Silver Spring, MD  20918.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.

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