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General News,
Brittany Jennings
October 28, 2019

Amy Greeson, RPh., estimates she’s been through about 15 different forests and jungles.

Amy Greeson, RPh., traveling by boat in the Congo. Photo courtesy Amy Greeson.

She’s seen the rich landscapes of the Amazon, the Congo, Papua New Guinea, and Mexico, among others, all on a quest to learn about ancient medicinal treatments and gather plants to bring back home to study in North Carolina.

The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy alumna,’90, said she began traveling to jungles after graduating from pharmacy school. Through her travels, she began to expand her views on pharmacy and became interested in discovering plants that had yet to be researched for medicinal purposes, especially before they were possibly destroyed due to deforestation.

Based on her decades of experiences to remote portions of the world, in August Greeson released a collection of stories called, “And the Silent Spoke.”

The book projects Greeson into the future as an old lady and highlights her endearing encounters with elders, traditional healers and villages, and also difficult challenges she faces, including oppressive swarms of bees, arrests by police, and incidents with tribal fighting. Along the way, she also details the heartbreak of witnessing the escalating devastation and demise of lands, cultures and species.

During her journeys, Greeson said she discovers much more than the healing plants she expected to find, she comes to a deeper realization of the critical significance of every life form on Earth.

“I have had some of the most beautiful times with some of the kindest, generous people. We don’t speak the same language, we don’t look alike, but it’s about getting to know them,” Greeson said.

Amy Greeson bookOne of her fondest memories comes from time she spent with a blind healer from the Baka tribe in the Congo.

“He was so gentle and loving and was so eager to share everything he knew,” Greeson said. “He never allowed the lack of sight to stop him. He taught me there are no excuses.”

Today, Amy is the CEO and President of Natural Discoveries Inc., a natural products discovery research company specializing in bringing new medicinal plants and compounds to institutions and companies for development as commercial products in the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, agricultural and cosmetics industries. Her plants are used by some researchers at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. She also runs Healing Seekers, a complementary non-profit company that creates educational films on topics that include biology, geography, social studies, and global sustainability.

“When I look back, there have been more times I’ve been on my knees than on a mountain top. There have been times that the hurdles seemed insurmountable. But because of team work, you can get through anything and you can succeed in anything. When I look back on my life, it always exceeds any expectation I had,” she said.

Her advice to pharmacy students is to dream big. “You have a pharmacy degree, there are no boundaries. You can expand into incredible realms. A lot of students are exposed to more global projects now. It’s no longer, ‘I’ve got to be behind a counter.’ They are expanding to healthcare and education. Students now are so full of ideas. I think the profession is really going to expand.”

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