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Forest medicinal plants Program

Forest Therapies

Studying and Creating Therapies from

Medicinal Plants

Forest Therapies is the most recent version of our Forest Medicine program, reflecting our longstanding interest in and experience with the medicinal plants native to the Atlantic Rainforest.  

Across the world millions of people rely on medicinal plants for their primary health needs. Yet rainforest destruction and degradation continue apace and increasing numbers of species become extinct every year. Iracambi’s Forest Therapies program  promotes the conservation of medicinal plants native to Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, share traditional knowledge about their uses, and promote a sustainable, income-based relationship between the local communities and the forest. 

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Adding value to the forest 

The Atlantic Forest is one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots whose extraordinary richness of species has been severely affected by deforestation. In the forested mountains of the Serra do Brigadeiro where we are located, the local rural economy is based mainly on the production of coffee and dairy products, and many farmers do not yet see the forest can be a sustainable source of income. One way to do this is through stimulating the production of forest based products such as essential oils and natural cosmetics from native medicinal plants. 

We want to promote this new paradigm among the Atlantic Forest communities surrounding Iracambi, in the same way as is happening in the Amazon where several initiatives are clearly demonstrating the economic value of the standing forest and its plants. 

Achyrocline satureioides – Macela do campo

Understanding and promoting the use of local medicinal plants is an important strategy for conserving the Atlantic Forest. If we lose the forest we lose its wealth of medicinal plants, but the more we learn about them and make them a part of our daily life, the more likely we are to protect them. 

Our approach to valuing  the standing forest has two aspects. First we conduct hands-on research into sustainable forest products. Because of a favorable market we have chosen to research essential oils and natural cosmetics made from medicinal plants native to the Atlantic Forest. We’re distilling fourteen aromatic plants, studying their biochemical compounds and developing natural cosmetics made with these essential oils. In this way we seek to inspire  the local community to work with these products, proving to them that the standing forest is far more valuable than the logged forest.  

Next, we invite women from the local communities to meet together, share their traditional knowledge on medicinal plants, and learn to distil essential oils, create natural cosmetic products,  and start working with aromatherapy. We want to encourage and equip these women to set up their own sustainable businesses. In this way  we hope to promote a shift in the local economy , showing that that the forest and its native medicinal plants can be a vital source of health, income and economic empowerment to the people who live there. 

Would you like to volunteer in this program? We’d love you to join us, and here’s how you could help.   

Carrying out independent or supervised research into medicinal plants, holistic therapies and forest prducts in general. 

Helping us keep the medicinal plants laboratory in good shape, and lending a hand in the medicinal plants garden. 

Helping us plan and deliver the workshops in rural communities. 

estimated number of medicinal plants globally
medicinal plants that have been researched in Brazil
medicinal plants licensed for use in Brazil
rural women involved in our workshops
If you and your company are interested in sponsoring our programs, please read more about our exciting corporate partnership opportunities.