Plant Medicines Importance of Plants for Medicines

Medicines, they are extremely important if the world today. As there become more people on the planet and transportation becomes faster, diseases spread faster. People also want everything quicker, not taking the time after an illness to allow their body to rest and recuperate. This means that medicines are needed, but new drugs and even the old drugs in larger quantities. But where do medicines originate and does this mean more factories dumping pollution in the rivers and atmosphere?

The original source of most medicines from the past came from traditional folklore, those herbalists or even the village witch doctor. They were derived from plants, and frequently from common plants. This is why Homeopathy works and where the first use of many spices came into being. What are some pharmaceuticals that first came from plants?

Salicylic Acid, commonly called Aspirin is one. It is now chemically formulated as acetylsalicylic acid, but is common in plants. The most easily accessible source? Willow bark! The Amerindians used this bark for making rope, but would then chew on the rope during periods of pain. It helped and many thought it was psychological, but it increased blood flow and circulation, as well as deadened the pain. This might be useful to know when hiking and those joints start to swell and get sore.

Are drugs more potent than aspirin derived from plants? How about the heart medicine Digitalis? This medication is produced from the ornamental plant foxglove, also scientifically known as digitalis! This is extremely important as persons with heart problems should not work with foxgloves!

Then there is quinine, the common anti-malarial drug. It is still made from quinine bark. Mix it with a splash of tonic water and gin, and those blood parasites dissolve away. Just remember that too much gin and so does your brain! When first discovered, quinine bark was as valuable as silk!

Many sedatives and tranquilizers came from plants. The poison in Abrus pectoris shuts down the nervous system, mixed with milk it becomes Pentadasinole, a sedative for use in young children. Daturas are made into anaesthetics used for putting people to sleep during operations.

There are cancer drugs (over 70 made from Vincas alone), antibiotics, de-wormers, and even medicines for AIDS that all originally come from plants. One researcher claimed over 90 of prescription drugs came from plants, even though many at now artificially synthesized. Are there medicines still out in those plants, waiting to be discovered? Most likely, hopefully mankind won’t destroy the plants first!