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ABC Announces Peruvian Amazon and Andes Ethnobotany Ecotour

(Austin, Texas) April 10, 2008.  Two nonprofit educational organizations, the American Botanical Council (ABC) and the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research (ACEER), have announced their 2008 annual Botanical Medicines from the Amazon and the Andes workshop tour. This year’s trip will take place September 26th through October 5th, 2008, in various locations in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest and the Andes mountains, including the famous, ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu.

Continuing education credit is available for certain healthcare providers.Amazon activities will focus on the edible and medicinal plants of the Peruvian Amazon, including visits to markets where local herbs are sold, explorations of the Inkaterra Field Reserve, the Useful Plants Trail, and the Garden of Medicinal Plants. A highpoint of the Amazon portion of the trip includes traversing the Inkaterra Canopy Walkway that soars 100 feet above the forest floor, allowing people to view plants and animals that dwell in the upper treetop canopy.Andean activities include a workshop by a traditional Incan shaman in the sacred Urubamba Valley, the Pisac traditional crafts market, and the inspiring “lost” mountaintop ruins of Machu Picchu.

Each stop of this trip will focus on the native ethnobotany of the area and ways the indigenous Inca people traditionally used and still currently use local medicinal plants.Tour leaders include internationally-known author, photographer and lecturer, Steven Foster; neuropsychopharmacologist, author and educator, Jerry Cott, Ph.D.; and ecologist and educator, Joseph Bishop, Ph.D. Presentations include History of Herbs in Medicine and Pharmacy, Medicinal Plants of the Amazon, Plants of Economic and Health Value, Amazonian Food Farmacy Diet, Herb-Drug Interactions, and Herbs and Aging.“We are incredibly passionate about helping people live healthier lives worldwide through the responsible and sustainable use of herbs and medicinal plants,” emphasized Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the ABC.

“For twenty years, the American Botanical Council has dedicated itself to providing accurate and reliable information and education about the use of herbs and medicinal plants," added Blumenthal. “Onsite educational programs such as our Amazon and Andes Ethnobotany Ecotour provide compelling information through applied education and a hands-on opportunity to immerse oneself in the actual environment with leading herbal and environmental experts. It is often a life-changing experience!”ABC and ACEER Foundation have been co-sponsoring and conducting continuing education-accredited ethnobotany ecotours to the Peruvian Amazon and Andes regions since 1994. They have also co-sponsored continuing education tours to Belize, Costa Rica, Kenya and South Africa as part of ABC's core mission to provide education using science-based and traditional information to promote the responsible use of herbal medicine.“This will be a fabulous trip, particularly the amazing Andean city of Machu Picchu,” said veteran ethnobotanical expert and tourleader Steven Foster.

“The greatest culture shock I’ve ever experienced is going from the primary rainforest in the Peruvian Amazon up to the ancient Inca capital, Cusco, on the way to Machu Picchu. Believe me, it doesn’t get better than this!” Space for the Peru tour is limited. Full itinerary and registration forms can be found online at the ABC website.ABC published a short article by former ABC pharmacy intern, Codi Scarbrough Triesch, sharing her experiences on the trip to Peru a few years ago. The article can be found here.  Links to photos from last year’s ecotour can be seen on Steven Foster's website.