The decimation of wild medicinal plants could threaten the health of millions of people around the world who rely on traditional medicine to treat serious illness, according to scientists.
“Focusing on medicinal plants has the potential to be a major motivating force behind nature conservation. Improving health, earning an income and maintaining cultural traditions are important to us all – wherever we live – and all three are involved in motivating people to conserve medicinal plants, and thus the habitats where they grow.”
Plantlife, the conservation charity, point out that traditional medicine is the primary source of health care for more people worldwide than western medicine – often because it is the only affordable treatment available. For example plants in east Africa are used to treat malaria and opportunistic infections caused by HIV Aids.
However around 15,000 species are under threat from pollution, over-harvesting and habitat loss, including Himalayan Yew, known as a source of anti-cancer drugs. The decimation of the plants is not only leading to a loss of traditional knowledge but could prevent a breakthrough in treating conditions like migraines, fever and even cancer.
Filed Under: Animal & Plant Life