The human history has several references of how our passion for plants,medicinal properties,aromatic flavorings inspired several "explorations" and was a significant factor in territorial expansions.India was a hotbed for spices/herbs drew several explorations from different colonial powers from the west.Places like ghana were devastated by war for several centuries cause of its prime export"Coca".The war on drugs....where countries have been devastated cause plants like opium,marihuana grew there easily.These little plants have changed the course of history forever.in this article I'm gona give you guys a list of plants and how plants have affected the world in various ways:
1)Khella:(the anti asthmatic) you'd freely see these flowers at the corner florists being used as a filler.but this white little flower has been used since ancient egypt for various medical treatments.This little flower cures everything from kidney stones to asthma, a total of 670 compounds were synthesized and with the production of sodium cromoglycate prevents the release of anti allergic substances that are responsible for asthmatic attack.This herb reduced a potential death sentence to an easily curable decease.
2)Ergot:(glout,lsd,childbirth) A fungus the affects grains such as rye and barley had several "poisoning " outbreaks throughout history.The fungus caused intense hallucinations and severe burning before this fungus was understood just post the legendary cycle ride by mr hoffman most of the people who were affected by ergot were executed as witches.The substance LSD was synthesized form ergot a drug that was glorified by the hippie movements of the 60s and 70s.but did you know a substance called ergotmine from the same plant was the used in the control of migraine ,labor pains and even hemorrhage.
3)Periwinkle :(anti cancer drug)This small pink flower is found freely all over the world.Easy to grow and flowers profusely which made this little guy a popular ornamental plant.Little do you know that this plant is a wonder drug during THE 1920s the analysis of its alkaloids found several substances that are used in the curing cases of acute leukemia!!! and several other cancers previously termed fatal!the next time you see these little pink flowers know that they are much more than just ornamental bloomers.
4)Chinchona ssp.(quinine)(1st anti malaria drug):quinine was the 1st anti malaria drug .during the 17th century vast quantities were shipped to europe from annexed south american countries several wars between the english and the dutch were fought for the control of the trade of the chinchona bark vast forrest were completely destroyed and the wild stocks depleted the Dutch managed to successfully graft the plant on a more aggressive rootstalk in java and vast farms were cultivated that gave the dutch a hold on the quinine trade.The demand for quinine was so high that plantations were set up in several south east asian countries.During the second world war synthetic anti malaria drugs were made and most of these fields were destroyed by spraying DDT causing major envoirmental damage .and now with resistance to the synthetic drugs the demand for organic drugs have steady gone up again.
5)Cholorodendron tomentosum (parer):(arrow poison /muscle relaxant)In south america early civilizations were avid hunters using a poison arrows to kill they prey the black gum of this plant has the ability to cause instant muscular paralysis the poison would instantly kill the prey but leave the animal unspoiled .the plant is highly poisonous but in the early 19th century it was used as a natural local anesthesia and over the years gained popularity.today this plant is an essential in almost all surgical procedures.
6)Erythroxylum coca:(origin of a famous drink,cocaine,local anesthetic)The people of peru have been chewing on the cocoa leaves from as early as 500AD the alkaloid cocaine was 1st synthesized in 1860 and was an extremely popular local anesthetic and in 1884 for a painless cataract operation .only in the 19th century social use of cocaine and coca based products were popularized.coca wine became famous and a popular drink by the name of coca cola , but with the united states banning the plant(how the hell can u ban a plant????) the plant was soon demonized countries like coloumbia,mexico,peru were ravaged with war just to "destroy" and eliminate cocaine trade.now only de cocainised coca is now used to make the popular soft drink.
7)Mexican yam :(1st oral contraceptive):the discovery of hormones came very late in medical science it took until 1934 to isolate coristine after which plants were investigated .extraction of diosgenin in 1940 by russel marker who sold the hormone $80,000 a kilo!!!large scale cultivation of yams for steroidal drugs,anabolic drugs and sex hormones have become a multi billion dollar industry in mexico.this was the plant that put safe and affordable oral contraceptives on the market.
8)Opium poppy :(an irreplaceable pain killer) opium is as old as medicine itself.the opium goddess a statue of a lady wearing a crown of poppy seeds believed to be the goddess of dreams and the night was recovered in crete dated almost 1400-1000bc.the greeks called opium the worlds greatest painkiller,and is still the drug choice of reliving pain in many terminal illness.in the 18th century when china decided to tackle its social problems by banning opium britian declared war on them debating the chinese in a war which for ever will bw known as the opium wars.the annexing of Afghanistan by the united states had several U.S drug company interests at stake. Opium is still grown in most parts of the world with its legal and illegal trade running into billions of $ per year.popular drugs like codeine,methadone,opiod,morphine are all products of this plant
9)Rauvolfia:(treatment of schizophrenia) this is a miracle herb of india mentioned in almost all of Indias great medicinal texts from the vedas to samhitas .the plant was used to cure everything from snake bites,moon disease,when in 1952 respite was isolated the term tranquilizer was coined after seeing its effects on the central nervous system.the plant has also seen significant work on it after seeing its effects on both patients of blood pressure etc.Alexander the Great administered this plant to cure his general Ptolemy of a poisoned arrow. It was reported that Mahatma Gandhi took it as a tranquilizer during his lifetime.
The discovery of the properties of different plants have made men go to places we never thought possible ....in this article i tried to highlight some of these plants i know there are many more ...and id love suggestions of plants i could add to this list.
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