Sunday, May 8, 2011

Plants for Healthcare

From the reblog facility of Kew Gardens website:

I just found this story via twitter which reminded me of reports coming from Europe on the banning of the growing of medicinal herbs. Here is a post celebrating the heritage of traditional medicine whilst informing us of some important things worth knowing. If anyone has news on the current situation in Europe do send links if you have  moment. I'm sure I saved an email on this in recent months... but if you have up-to-date news it would be gratefully received!


Plants are a vital part of healthcare. Over 80% of the world's people rely on traditional medicine, much of which is based on plant remedies. Traditional Chinese medicine alone uses over 5,000 plant species.
Catharanthus roseus
Catharanthus roseus (Madagascar periwinkle)
In the developed world around a quarter of all prescriptions contain materials isolated from plants. Others, like aspirin, are synthesised copies of chemicals found naturally in plants, or are modified from the initial natural product.
The rose periwinkle of Madagascar (Catharanthus roseusright) has yielded 2 drugs for the treatment of cancer: it is the source of alkaloids used to treat childhood leukaemia and Hodgkin's disease.
Medicinal plants are mostly harvested from the wild, which can put them under great pressure. In Europe alone, an estimated 150 medicinal plant species are at risk from over-harvesting.
Despite the high reliance on plants in medicine, less than 20% of the described plant species have been investigated for the presence of bioactive compounds. Many more medicines have yet to be developed from plant materials.
 Spiny branch and yellow inflorescences of Acacia nilotica

There is another page on this ... go to the website for more.
Leaf of Alocasia macrorrhizos
Alocasia macrorrhizos
elephant ear taro
Aloe ferox
Aloe ferox
Cape aloes
Aloe vera
Aloe vera
aloe vera
Castanea sativa
Castanea sativa
sweet chestnut
Crinum woodrowii
Crinum woodrowii
Woodrow's crinum lily
Digitalis purpurea (common foxglove)
Digitalis purpurea
common foxglove
Ginkgo biloba at Kew
Ginkgo biloba
maidenhair tree
The large sausage-shaped fruits of Kigelia africana
Kigelia africana
sausage tree


fernenland said...

Here are some interesting links:
(Note the latter is a pdf file.)

Sophie Munns said...

I just took a look at these excellent links... will gladly add them to a follow-up post ...thank you Fernenland!

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