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Episode 14

48 mins


In this enlightening episode of the RealPharma Podcast, hosts Ian Wendt and Dr. Nari Oh sit down with Dr. Steven King, a luminary in the field of ethnobotanical research and sustainable pharmaceutical development. Dr. King, currently serving as the Chief Sustainable Supply, Ethnobotanical Research, and IP Officer at Jaguar Health, shares his remarkable journey from a young adventurer in the Amazon rainforest to a pioneering figure in the integration of traditional botanical knowledge with modern medicine.

Join us as we delve into the fascinating world of ethnobotany, exploring how Dr. King's lifelong passion for plant-based healing has led to groundbreaking developments in the pharmaceutical industry. Discover the story behind the Croton lechleri tree, popularly known as the Dragon's Blood tree, and how its unique properties have been harnessed to create an FDA-approved medication derived from this Amazonian marvel.

Dr. King offers insights into his early experiences living with indigenous communities in South America, learning about their traditional uses of plants for medicine, and the ethical considerations involved in bringing these ancient practices into the global market. We discuss the importance of sustainability and respectful collaboration with local communities, emphasizing the crucial balance between conservation and commerce.

This episode also touches on the broader implications of Dr. King’s work, from his contributions to the Healing Forest Conservatory to the role of bioethics in the commercialization of traditional knowledge. As the conversation unfolds, we explore the exciting future of plant-based therapeutics and the potential for ethnobotanical research to address some of the most pressing health challenges of our time.

Tune in for a captivating discussion that spans decades of exploration, scientific discovery, and cultural exchange, highlighting how ancient wisdom can inform and transform modern healthcare.


00:00 Introduction to Ethnobotany

02:04 Biocultural Diversity and Pharmaceutical Development

13:20 The Croton lechleri Tree and its Medicinal Uses

15:59 Ethnobotanical Research vs. Traditional Drug Development

21:39 Intellectual Property and Benefit-Sharing

24:27 Ethical and Sustainable Practices in Working with Indigenous Communities

28:27 Respecting Indigenous Knowledge and Rights in Plant-Based Medicine Development

34:03 The Financial Benefits of Commercializing Plant-Based Drugs for Indigenous Communities

36:23 The Potential Therapeutic Applications of Psychedelic Research



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