Over the past 20 years we have studied and worked with people, research institutes and communities in the Peruvian Amazon to develop a sustainable method of growing and harvesting the tropical plant Croton lechleri.
The Croton lechleri tree is widespread in the rainforests of Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil. In the 1980s, several of these areas – including the green valleys of the Pichis River, where the Ashàninka, Yànesha and Cacataibo peoples live – began to be the destination of new migratory flows from other regions of South America. New uses, commercial techniques and land use practices appeared. One of these developments, which is responsible for significant social conflict and environmental damage, is the cultivation of coca leaves to produce drugs. Local governments and non-governmental organizations in the region continue to work alongside local populations to promote crop replacement and better social conditions in these areas.
In the early 2000s, Jaguar Health and its wholly owned Napo Pharmaceuticals subsidiary started collaborating with local producers to support the sustainable harvest of Croton lechleri, with the aim of ensuring the long-term resilience of this medicinal plant for the benefit of patients, local producers, indigenous communities and our ecosystem.