"Twenty years ago I set out to learn as much as I could about the way the Indians of the Amazon used forest plants before the knowledge disappeared.
"Few of the 120 prescription drugs on the market using plant derivatives as active ingredients were actually 'discovered' by university-trained scientists. Indians beat us to finding healing powers in many plant chemicals, including those found in quinine, aspirin, taxol, and various cancer drugs.
"I believe cures for some 'incurable' diseases [cancer, AIDS, diabetes] will come from the Amazon rainforest. The region is without equal - it teems with more plant life than any place on the planet. And more insect life. To survive millions of years of entomological onslaught, the plants have become sophisticated chemical warriors. Yet we've only closely studied five percent of the region's 80,000 plant species. Among those unstudied species we will find medicines, foods, fibers, pesticides, and chemicals of immense value.