Amazon Case Study: The Shrub Treating Glaucoma

By AQ Online

A local cooperative is supplying the world with an essential component for glaucoma treatment.

This article is part of AQ’s special report on sustainable development of the Amazon. Each year, several dozen leaf collectors dedicate six months to foraging the leaves of the jaborandi, a once-endangered shrub found in the north of Brazil. Members of CoEx-Carajás, a sustainable gathering cooperative, spend three to four weeks at a time deep in the Carajás National Forest. They return with massive sacks filled with dried jaborandi leaves, the only known natural source of pilocarpine, an alkaloid long used as the main component in eyedrops for glaucoma. Founded...

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