Shamans were the first medical specialists in indigenous communities, and their traditional methods are known to be effective in treating both physical and psychological ailments. The chemical components of plants that shamans use in healing rites could conceivably be building blocks for new drugs or cures for such scourges as cancer or AIDS. For thousands of years, indigenous groups have made extensive use of the materials contained in the rainforest to meet their health needs.
The World Health Organization estimates that 80 percent of the people in developing countries still rely on traditional medicine for their primary health care needs. Without money, access, or faith in modern facilities, indigenous people depend on shamans, herbal healers, and rainforest plants for their survival.
Shamans also play a crucial role in helping scientists to discover the potentials of plants. As one scientist has said, "Each time a medicine man dies, it is as if a library has been burned down."
By gaining experiential knowledge given to them by the plants and the patterns of Mother Nature herself, shamans have understood on an intuitive level that nature’s designs are energy flows. Since prehistoric times, they have learned how the matrices of nature work together and with this knowledge they have chosen to live in harmony with these forces by embodying a balance of power that has put them and their people in harmony with the forces of nature instead of in opposition to them.
In order for the human race to survive into the future, we must follow the example they have set. In order to do this, we must change the way we live, and to change the way we live, we must change the way we think. The choice is ours.