Brazil Indigenous Tribe to Kill COVID-19 Using Herbs

Published May 20th, 2020 - 05:57 GMT

Far from lab coat and face mask territory, a group of indigenous healers with feather and leaf headdresses is working its way up the Amazon river, looking for medicinal plants to treat the new coronavirus.

In a small motor boat, five men from the Satere Mawe tribe are trying to help their people survive without using the saturated state health system in Amazonas, in northwestern Brazil, which despite its remoteness is one of the places hit hardest by the pandemic, according to AFP.

"We've been treating our symptoms with our own traditional remedies, the way our ancestors taught us," said Andre Satere Mawe, a tribal leader who comes from a small village on the far outskirts of the state capital, Manaus.

"We've each used the knowledge handed down to us to gather treatments and test them, using each one against a different symptom of the disease."

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Satere-Mawe indigenous leader Valdiney Satere, 43, collects caferana, a native plant of the Amazon rainforest used as medicinal herb, to treat people showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in their community Wakiru, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP

Satere-Mawe indigenous leader Valdiney Satere, 43, collects caferana, a native plant of the Amazon rainforest used as medicinal herb, to treat people showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in their community Wakiru, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP

The local and state governments were called to assist to no avail. With the Amazonas state health system saturated, indigenous people turn to their ancestral knowledge about the region's nature to stay healthy and treat possible symptoms of the novel coronavirus. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP

The local and state governments were called to assist to no avail. With the Amazonas state health system saturated, indigenous people turn to their ancestral knowledge about the region's nature to stay healthy and treat possible symptoms of the novel coronavirus. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP

A Satere-Mawe indigenous girl hugs a sloth in the Wakiru community, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020, during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP

A Satere-Mawe indigenous girl hugs a sloth in the Wakiru community, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020, during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP

Indigenous from the Parque das Tribos community mourns at the funeral of Chief Messias, 53, of the Kokama tribe who died victim of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, in Manaus, Brazil, on May 14, 2020. MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP

Indigenous from the Parque das Tribos community mourns at the funeral of Chief Messias, 53, of the Kokama tribe who died victim of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, in Manaus, Brazil, on May 14, 2020. MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP

Satere-Mawe indigenous leader Andre Satere, 38, collects carapanauba, a native plant of the Amazon rainforest used as medicinal herb, to treat people showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in their community Wakiru, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP

Satere-Mawe indigenous leader Andre Satere, 38, collects carapanauba, a native plant of the Amazon rainforest used as medicinal herb, to treat people showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in their community Wakiru, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP

The Brazilian state of Amazonas, home to most of the country's indigenous people, is one of the regions worst affected by the pandemic, with more than 500 deaths to date according to the health ministry. RICARDO OLIVEIRA / AFP

The Brazilian state of Amazonas, home to most of the country's indigenous people, is one of the regions worst affected by the pandemic, with more than 500 deaths to date according to the health ministry. RICARDO OLIVEIRA / AFP

Satere-Mawe indigenous mother Priscila Tavares Batista, 36 remains in a bed protected by a mosquito net with her son Jone Tavares, 2, after being treated with medicinal herbs after showing symptoms of COVID-19, in the Wakiru community, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020, during the novel coronavirus pandemic.Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP

Satere-Mawe indigenous mother Priscila Tavares Batista, 36 remains in a bed protected by a mosquito net with her son Jone Tavares, 2, after being treated with medicinal herbs after showing symptoms of COVID-19, in the Wakiru community, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020, during the novel coronavirus pandemic.Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP

A Satere-Mawe indigenous child sits beside an man preparing medicinal herbs to treat people with symptoms of COVID-19 in the Wakiru community, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020, during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP

A Satere-Mawe indigenous child sits beside an man preparing medicinal herbs to treat people with symptoms of COVID-19 in the Wakiru community, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020, during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP

The local and state governments were called to assist to no avail. With the Amazonas state health system saturated, indigenous people turn to their ancestral knowledge about the region's nature to stay healthy and treat possible symptoms of the novel coronavirus. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP

The local and state governments were called to assist to no avail. With the Amazonas state health system saturated, indigenous people turn to their ancestral knowledge about the region's nature to stay healthy and treat possible symptoms of the novel coronavirus. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP

Satere-Mawe indigenous leader Valdiney Satere, 43, collects caferana, a native plant of the Amazon rainforest used as medicinal herb, to treat people showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in their community Wakiru, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
The local and state governments were called to assist to no avail. With the Amazonas state health system saturated, indigenous people turn to their ancestral knowledge about the region's nature to stay healthy and treat possible symptoms of the novel coronavirus. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
A Satere-Mawe indigenous girl hugs a sloth in the Wakiru community, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020, during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
Indigenous from the Parque das Tribos community mourns at the funeral of Chief Messias, 53, of the Kokama tribe who died victim of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, in Manaus, Brazil, on May 14, 2020. MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP
Satere-Mawe indigenous leader Andre Satere, 38, collects carapanauba, a native plant of the Amazon rainforest used as medicinal herb, to treat people showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in their community Wakiru, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
The Brazilian state of Amazonas, home to most of the country's indigenous people, is one of the regions worst affected by the pandemic, with more than 500 deaths to date according to the health ministry. RICARDO OLIVEIRA / AFP
Satere-Mawe indigenous mother Priscila Tavares Batista, 36 remains in a bed protected by a mosquito net with her son Jone Tavares, 2, after being treated with medicinal herbs after showing symptoms of COVID-19, in the Wakiru community, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020, during the novel coronavirus pandemic.Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
A Satere-Mawe indigenous child sits beside an man preparing medicinal herbs to treat people with symptoms of COVID-19 in the Wakiru community, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020, during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
The local and state governments were called to assist to no avail. With the Amazonas state health system saturated, indigenous people turn to their ancestral knowledge about the region's nature to stay healthy and treat possible symptoms of the novel coronavirus. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
Satere-Mawe indigenous leader Valdiney Satere, 43, collects caferana, a native plant of the Amazon rainforest used as medicinal herb, to treat people showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in their community Wakiru, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
Satere-Mawe indigenous leader Valdiney Satere, 43, collects caferana, a native plant of the Amazon rainforest used as medicinal herb, to treat people showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in their community Wakiru, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
The local and state governments were called to assist to no avail. With the Amazonas state health system saturated, indigenous people turn to their ancestral knowledge about the region's nature to stay healthy and treat possible symptoms of the novel coronavirus. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
The local and state governments were called to assist to no avail. With the Amazonas state health system saturated, indigenous people turn to their ancestral knowledge about the region's nature to stay healthy and treat possible symptoms of the novel coronavirus. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
A Satere-Mawe indigenous girl hugs a sloth in the Wakiru community, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020, during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
A Satere-Mawe indigenous girl hugs a sloth in the Wakiru community, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020, during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
Indigenous from the Parque das Tribos community mourns at the funeral of Chief Messias, 53, of the Kokama tribe who died victim of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, in Manaus, Brazil, on May 14, 2020. MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP
Indigenous from the Parque das Tribos community mourns at the funeral of Chief Messias, 53, of the Kokama tribe who died victim of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, in Manaus, Brazil, on May 14, 2020. MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP
Satere-Mawe indigenous leader Andre Satere, 38, collects carapanauba, a native plant of the Amazon rainforest used as medicinal herb, to treat people showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in their community Wakiru, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
Satere-Mawe indigenous leader Andre Satere, 38, collects carapanauba, a native plant of the Amazon rainforest used as medicinal herb, to treat people showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in their community Wakiru, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
The Brazilian state of Amazonas, home to most of the country's indigenous people, is one of the regions worst affected by the pandemic, with more than 500 deaths to date according to the health ministry. RICARDO OLIVEIRA / AFP
The Brazilian state of Amazonas, home to most of the country's indigenous people, is one of the regions worst affected by the pandemic, with more than 500 deaths to date according to the health ministry. RICARDO OLIVEIRA / AFP
Satere-Mawe indigenous mother Priscila Tavares Batista, 36 remains in a bed protected by a mosquito net with her son Jone Tavares, 2, after being treated with medicinal herbs after showing symptoms of COVID-19, in the Wakiru community, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020, during the novel coronavirus pandemic.Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
Satere-Mawe indigenous mother Priscila Tavares Batista, 36 remains in a bed protected by a mosquito net with her son Jone Tavares, 2, after being treated with medicinal herbs after showing symptoms of COVID-19, in the Wakiru community, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020, during the novel coronavirus pandemic.Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
A Satere-Mawe indigenous child sits beside an man preparing medicinal herbs to treat people with symptoms of COVID-19 in the Wakiru community, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020, during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
A Satere-Mawe indigenous child sits beside an man preparing medicinal herbs to treat people with symptoms of COVID-19 in the Wakiru community, in Taruma neighbourhood, a rural area west of Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on May 17, 2020, during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
The local and state governments were called to assist to no avail. With the Amazonas state health system saturated, indigenous people turn to their ancestral knowledge about the region's nature to stay healthy and treat possible symptoms of the novel coronavirus. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP
The local and state governments were called to assist to no avail. With the Amazonas state health system saturated, indigenous people turn to their ancestral knowledge about the region's nature to stay healthy and treat possible symptoms of the novel coronavirus. Ricardo OLIVEIRA / AFP