Friday, March 14, 2014

Plant Biodiversity Affects Medicine

Advancements in medicinal scientific discoveries are threatened by a decrease in plant species biodiversity.  According to WHO (World Health Organization) medicine plays a vital role in human health care.  Therefore, plant varieties should be of importance to us, given that plants are how we obtain the majority of our medicine.  The supply of plants we derive medicine from, as well as discover new medicines, are highly dependent on plant biodiversity.  Most medicinal plants are collected from wild populations and cultivations.  Biomedical research is very heavily reliant on the natural supply of plants.These supplies can only flourish when their biodiversity is not being threatened.  Without this natural supply many of the current medicines we have today may not exist. 

Many of the medicines people use on a daily basis, such as antibiotics and painkillers are cultivated from plants.  To allow for medicinal advancement of the medicines we have now, along with new formulas, the plant culture needs to be rich in biodiversity.  Biodiversity is crucial to promoting continual medicinal discoveries.  When plant species become extinct the possibility of new treatments and medicinal advancements decline.  

In an article written by Andrew Wood, "An estimated one in five plants are under threat of extinction: prioritizing their conservation and their associated habitats will also safeguard the future of animal and human life" (  To make sure we are maintaining our ability to produce future medicines we need to be aware of nature conservation in order to sustain and promote plant diversity. One simple way we can help safeguard our plant biodiversity is be aware of the resources we are consuming that affect plant life.  By looking for certain eco-labels we can be sure products we purchase with these labels are behind the promotion of biodiversity. Such labels include: USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified,  Green Seal Certified, along with others.  Promoting plant biodiversity can lead to healthier lives for many.

Posted by: Mary Hoefler
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