Many western pharmaceutical products can trace their origins to the tropics.
Plants from this part of the world have provided the inspiration for life-saving cancer drugs while the cinchona plant contains quinine which is used to treat malaria.
Recently scientists discovered avocados from the Chilean rainforest could be used to treat infections which are resistant to antibiotics.
Nutritionist Dr Sam Christie says: “Thanks to a unique set of growing conditions, the tropics are nature’s medicine chest. These plants have adapted to the conditions and have developed their own defences such as being able to stave off microbial bugs in the wet soil.
“When we ingest extracts from many of these plants or their fruits we can protect our health and boost our wellbeing.
These small purple berries have been the staple diet of native Amazonians for centuries and have recently become a popular western “super food”.
They contain high levels of minerals such as potassium, manganese, copper, iron and magnesium and it is claimed they boost the immune system.
They are packed with antioxidants which may play a role in preventing heart disease and cancer and are a source of omega-3 which is also good for the heart.
The tiny berries are also said to be good for the digestive system.
TRY: Acai berries are available from www.organicburst.com or try Nature’s Plus Whole Food Total Body Cleanse Supplement with acai and exotic superfruits from health food stores and www.nutricentre.com (£23.99 for 168 capsules).