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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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the plant had almost ripe fruits. Harvesting the roots is done by Indians and black slaves from neighboring farmers all year round, but especially soon after the rainy season, because these roots are most easily uprooted from the moist soil. The Indians are little concerned with the replanting of the bush, but tear out all the roots they have taken without discernment, so that soon there will be a lack of this appreciated medicinal root if they do not care to make nurseries with their seeds. The uprooted and washed roots are gathered in bundles, dried in the sun and sold to nearby farmers or herbalists from Rio de Janeiro.

The price in the woods is very low, two hundred cruzados a pound; The Indians do not accept money, but exchange with cachaca, iron utensils, cotton cloths, etc. We were assured that these children of the jungles learned the use of poaia from irara, a species of weasel, which, when it swallows a lot of dirty water from streams or ponds, or salt water, has the habit of chewing the leaves and roots of this plant to cause vomiting. Perhaps this is just one of the many legends that the Portuguese gathered from the Indians without verification. Here, as well as throughout Brazil, the habit of taking ipecacuanha, after the root is twelve hours at rest in cold infusion, is generally higher than in Europe, because the fresh root still contains much water.

Sao Joao Baptista

In addition to the poaia, the forests of Sao Joao Batista also contain pharmacy plants, very precious as anda-acu bicuiba (Myristica officinalis Mart.), Pirigaia, butua, parsley, black root (Chiococa anguifuga, Mart.) whose use is higher among the Portuguese than among the Indians. One of the most beautiful is the sapucaia (Lecythis ollaria L.).

Lecythis ollaria

The colossal trunk is over a hundred feet high; It extends its majestic fronds in a round vault, and, as spring comes, with its pink leaves and the whiteness of its great flowers, it adorns the woods. The thick-shelled fruit, the size of a child's head, has a lid that comes off all around, finally breaking and letting out the seeds, large ground nuts. With strong gusts of wind, it is dangerous to be in the bush due to the weight of these fruits and the height from which they fall.

Almonds are much tasted by the Indians, who consider them a snack, eating them raw or roasted and powdered, preserved in pots; The coconut itself is used as a cup. The inhabitants of the Presidium, and especially the priest, who is brown, like his parishioners, endeavored to render us service and make us comfortable while dwelling there in their jungles; they brought us daily animals or plants, which they considered worthy of our attention. We were thus given to admire the knowledge

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