Cultures

Indian political awakening stirs Latin America, AP reports

In Ecuador, the Shuar are blocking highways to defend their hunting grounds. In Chile, the Mapuche are occupying ranches to pressure for land, schools and clinics. In Bolivia, a new constitution gives the country’s 36 indigenous peoples the right to self-rule.

Mystery potions: Angel’s trumpet

Angel’s trumpets are found naturalised across the world, and their trumpet flowers exude a beautiful and narcotic scent, particularly at night.

Regional medicine: Trumpet tree

The trumpet tree or embauba is widely used in traditional medicine throughout Central and South America. Virtually every part is used – bark, roots, sap, leaves and fruit – to treat a diversity of ailments. Each country has different uses for extracts of this plant, such as treatment for bronchitis and snakebites in Trinidad and a cure for diabetes and hypertension in Guatemala.

Poisonous silence: the dumb cane

Sap from the dumb cane plant that gets into a human mouth will make the tongue swell, causing speechlessness in adults and sometimes killing children.

Poison jewels: the dart frogs

These South American frogs are brightly coloured and highly poisonous. The colour alone deters many predators, but when threatened, these frogs also release deadly poisons through their skin.

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