Watch “Save Rainforests Save Lives” which reminds us that the rainforests are our best hope for finding cures for cancer, AIDs and other life-threatening diseases.
What Medicines Do The Forests Provide?
It is astonishing to think that of all the drugs we consume today most of the common ones are derived from the rainforests, even more astonishing is that only a small amount of the total number of plants have been screened for medical use. The following is a list of drugs that the plants have provided a basis for : the contraceptive pill, antibiotics, tranquillisers, dental cement, heart and ulcer drugs. In fact one in four products from the chemist contain chemical compounds derived from rainforest plants. 70% of anti cancer plants originate from the rainforests and the US National Cancer Institute identified 3,000 plants with properties in fighting cancer. From 1960-1990, the survival rate for child leukaemia rose from 20% to 80% when ‘The Rosy Periwinkle’ plant from Madagascar played a major contribution in fighting this form of cancer. The Cinchona tree from Peru has been effective in treating malaria; the Guatemalan wild yam is a major contribution to the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill; Resperine from South East Asia, from the shrub Rauwlfia Serpentina is used for treating hypertension. Cement used in dentistry comes from the balsams of Latin America. And the ‘Benzoin Tree’ of Malaysia produces a yellow substance that is used for antiseptic and to treat bronchitis. This is the Earth’s own medicine cabinet with many more cures for illnesses hidden within the forests. With the pharmaceutical companies making billions of pounds and dollars each year, it seems that it is in their interest that the forests no longer survive, but the forests provided the basis for all of man’s drugs and we should start preserving them now.