Green Fingers I Wish

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Hundreds of Medicinal Plants Threatened By Extinction


Magnolias are one of hundreds of plants under threat.

Over 50% of prescription drugs are derived from chemicals first identified in plants.

But the Botanic Gardens Conservation International said many were at risk from over-collection and deforestation.

Researchers warned the cures for things such as cancer and HIV may become "extinct before they are ever found".

The group, which represents botanic gardens across 120 countries, surveyed over 600 of its members as well as leading university experts.


MIRACLE CURES MOST AT RISK:-

Yew tree - Cancer drug paclitaxel is derived from the bark, but it takes six trees to create a single dose so growers are struggling to keep up
Hoodia - Plant has sparked interest for its ability to suppress appetite, but vast quantities have already been "ripped from the wild" as the search for the miracle weight drug continues
Magnolia - Has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for 5,000 years as it is believed to help fight cancer, dementia and heart disease. Half the world's species threatened, mostly due to deforestation
Autumn crocus - Romans and Greeks used it as poison, but now one of the most effective treatments for gout. Under threat from horticulture trade

They identified 400 plants that were at risk of extinction.

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