Washington University in St. Louis
Campus Box 1137
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
Professor Walter H. Lewis' research emphasizes medical ethnobotany in South America among the Jivaro peoples of the upper Amazon basin. This involves learning their traditional medicine by understanding about the many plants used as therapeutics to treat a wide range of diseases. Extracts of these targeted plants are then tested in specific biodirected assays and those found active are fractioned and chemically characterized in search of new compounds effective in treating malaria, tuberculosis, and other diseases.
Photo caption: Collecting and preparing anti-malarial and other plant material with the Aguaruna Jivaros in the rainforest of northern Peru.
Lewis, W.H. (2000) Ethnopharmacology and the search for new therapeutics. In Biodiversity and Native America, ed. by P.E. Minnis and W.J. Elisens. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, p. 75-96.
Lewis, W.H., Lamas, G., Vaisberg, A., Corley, D.G., Sarasara, C. (2000) Peruvian medicinal plant sources of new pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceutical Biol. 37S: 1-14.
Lewis, W.H. (2001) Pharmaceutical discoveries based on ethnomedicinal plants: 1985 to 2000 and beyond. Economic Botany. 55, in press.