Jewels of the Jungle takes audiences on a worldwide journey of scientific exploration, trekking throughout the forests of Australia, Bolivia and Peru, and into laboratories throughout the United States, presenting viewers with a first glimpse of what may become humanity's next generation of wonder drugs.
In recent years drug-resistant bacteria have rendered many of society's 'wonder-drugs' impotent. And numerous diseases, including malaria and AIDS remain uncured. For Montana State University Professor Dr. Gary Strobel, the solution lays not in laboratories but in nature. Jewels of the Jungle follows Dr. Strobel as he travels throughout the world's most remote and beautiful forests in search of new natural medicinal compounds, relying not only on Western science but also on the traditional knowledge of aboriginal peoples.
And while humanity has relied on natural medicines for centuries, Strobel has found a new, revolutionary source of drugs: microscopic life forms that live inside of plants. Called endophytes, these organisms often produce powerful chemical compounds that protect their host plants from infections and diseases. It's now become apparent that these compounds can play the same role in people. It's also apparent that endophytes may lead to a pharmaceutical revolution, allowing for the creation of an array of more powerful, cheaper drugs that fight cancer, malaria and numerous other infections and diseases.