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Books: Medicines from the Jungle/Medicinas de la Selva

January 3, 2014

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico - My new bilingual book, Medicines from the Jungle/Medicinas de la Selva, is now available as an eBook for iPad or hard copy at the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens. (Bulk Copies are available for purchase as a tax deductible donation in the USA.)

This full-color book in Spanish and English was written in collaboration with my friends and colleagues in Yelapa, Cabo Corrientes. Sales from the book support the Cabo Corrientes Medical Massage project, which brings free therapy to the region.

Between 1998 and 2001, we at the Center for Traditional Medicine responded to a community-expressed need from the mothers and grandmothers to ensure that their knowledge of plants and foods would be taught and passed down to their children.

We embarked on a community-wide project to support traditional knowledge of plant and food use in Yelapa and the neighboring villages of the Comunidad Indígena de Chacala. We met throughout the year, during wet seasons and dry, focusing on activities that people expressed a desire to undertake.

This project took many forms: arts groups in primary school, after-school art classes in batik and painting, computer classes and sports medicine classes to interest the teens, sewing classes that focused on floral designs, interviews with the elders of the community, and sessions gathering and cooking traditional foods. Members of the community-residents, foreigners, teachers, and tourists-took turns teaching and being taught. The project set the stage for many community arts activities that continue to bloom.

The west coast of Jalisco, Mexico has one of the richest pharmacies in the world; this pharmacy resides in the dry forest that ranges from the coast far into the mountains.

Yet as pharmaceutical drugs gain dominance in rural Mexico, the plants from which many drugs are derived are being trampled, lost to concrete, and even forgotten. Recognition of the limitations of pharmaceuticals has stimulated the revitalization of knowledge about forest medicines and foods. Our research team of indigenous and non-indigenous practitioners and scientists are part of a growing movement to conduct community-based action research about the use of plants, fruits, and vegetables that will help and heal individuals and communities.

Together these partnerships may be fruitful for everyone, as we explore the wisdom of Mother Earth and discover anew how we may sustain and protect the bounty she offers.

This plant medicine book offers a small part of the knowledge and art that flowered during the project. It documents some of the plant medicines commonly used by people living in the Comunidad Indígena de Chacala. Community members identified and selected the most important plants and foods for inclusion in this book. People throughout Mexico use these plants and fruits for varied medicinal purposes; we include the local uses of the plants resources as well as the biomedical science and recipes.

The eBook version for Kindle and iPad are available on the iTunes Bookstore. The hardcopy is available for purchase from the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens, online via paypal at, or by writing Leslie Korn at lekorn(at)
Dr. Leslie Korn specializes in integrative mind body health integrating nutritional and herbal medicine, therapeutic bodywork and psychotherapy. She completed her graduate training at Harvard Medical School and the school of Public Health She has conducted research on Traditional Medicine and Culinary traditions and directed a natural medicine clinic in Cabo Corrientes since 1974. She was a 2009-2010 Mexico Fulbright scholar and is the author of 3 books. To learn more about her work, visit, and She can be reached at lekorn(at)

Click HERE to read more articles by Leslie Korn.