Uses of The Rainforest
Did you know about 25% of all the medicines we use come from rainforest plants. That is one in four medicines. Yet scientists have only cataloged 250,000 such species and have estimated that there may be another million uncataloged species in existence. In tropical forest regions, over 2000 tropical plants have been identified as having anti-cancer properties. However, scientiests have only tested 1 in 10 tropical rainforest plants for these properties and only intensively screened 1 in 100 up to today. It has been said that at this present rate of deforestation, thousands of plants would be extinct even before they can be tested.
(Curare Plant) Copyrighted Raintree Nutrition All rights reserved.
(Curare Leaf) Copyrighted Raintree Nutrition All rights reserved
Probably the most important of all plants is the Curare plant which is from a tropical vine. The Curare plant is used widely as an anesthetic and to relax muscles for surgery. It is due to this drug that surgeries can be performed today. Without it, the medical world would really be “handicapped". Quinine, from the cinchona tree which is also found in the rainforest, is used to treat malaria while the rosy periwinkle contains an anti-leukemia drug giving a person with lymphocytic leukemia a 99% chance that the disease will go into remission because of the rosy periwinkle.
(Quinine plant) Copyrighted Raintree Nutrition All rights reserved.
Tropical rainforests have also provided us with chemicals that treat or cure inflammation, rheumatism, diabetes, muscle tension, surgical complications, heart conditions, skin diseases, arthritis, glaucoma, and hundreds of other ailments. Rainforests provide the world with tranquilizers, stimulants and contraceptives like "the pill" which includes chemicals from the Mexican forest yam. Maybe, scientists may also be able to find a cure for AIDS from the rainforest. It is a pity that due to deforestation, the scientists will not have a chance to screen the thousands of trees that have gone extinct and itis worrying as the number is still increasing.
In 1987, scientists found a tree compound
from the Malaysian rainforest that was 100% effective against the
deadly HIV-1 virus. Unfortunately, the tree was never found