The use of medicinal plants goes hand in hand with humanity, but the discovery of aspirin, at the beginning of the last century, can be considered the ground zero of this demand ‘. It was with this discovery that the first pharmaceutical company in the world, Bayer, emerged. In the marine environment, the search started in the 60’s, when the development of scuba diving started thanks to Jacques Cousteau.
It is still a new science, that ‘crawls’. Even so, from the beginning in the 60s until today, 13 medicines already in the world pharmacies were reached due to the contribution of the marine space. Of these, eight are for cancer.
From the discovery of a promising marine organism, until it becomes a drug on the pharmacy shelf, it takes a long time and a huge investment. On average, it takes 15 years and about one billion dollars in investments.
It is dangerous too and one of the remedies for breast cancer was originated from a sponge from the Caribbean. When they realized the effect of this sponge, about 600 tons were collected, a horrible destruction.
Recent research indicates the existence of 450 species of trees in a single hectare of te Aamazon Forest. The entire biome is home to thousands of species. The wealth of fauna and home to amphibians, reptiles, fish, mammals and birds. The flora with several species of endemic plants and trees, original and unique in the region – there is also an immense socio-biodiversity represented by more than 200 people indigenous peoples and diverse communities.
The extraction of medicinal plants is compatible with the conservation of the forest. For this, however, it is necessary to use work techniques that generate low environmental impact. A large part of the world population uses medicinal plants to treat health problems. The World Health Organization (WHO) points out that 80% of the population in developing countries depend on traditional medicine and 85% of medicines involve the use of plant extracts. This means that almost four billion people depend on these sources of treatment.
Get to know some medicinal plants from the Atlantic Forest and their functions:
Brazilwood or Ibirapitanga (Caesalpinia echinata)
This native species, deeply linked to the history of Brazil, has medicinal properties and uses such as astringent and anti-diarrheal actions. The wood of this tree was also widely used for making musical instruments and for civil and naval construction. Currently, the species is extinct due to uncontrolled exploitation.
Espinheira-santa, cancerous or cancorosa-of-seven-thorns (Maytenus ilicifolia)
The leaves of this shrub are prescribed by folk medicine to treat indigestion and gastric ulcers. Its active principles, fight stomach acid problems and the formation of gases. The espinheira-santa is widely used in baths for the healing of the skin. Its bioactive compounds have antineoplastic properties, to fight tumors, and antimicrobial, in the control of parasites that cause Leischimaniasis and Trypanosomiasis. It is a native species of the Amazon Forest.
Whaling weed or miraculous (Cordia verbenacea)
Developed from the leaves of whaling weed, it is prescribed as a topical analgesic and anti-inflammatory. In ointment, cream or spray, the drug is indicated for the treatment of tendonitis and muscle pain, and in inflammatory conditions associated with sprains and bruises.
Red Aroma (Schinus terebinthifolia)
Compounds with healing, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-rheumatic and diuretic properties are extracted from the dry bark of the leaves.
Araçá (Psidium cattleianum)
Its medicinal use, it is used for timber and food purposes. Its fruits are consumed both in natura and used for the production of ice cream and jellies. The leaves and fruits have properties and uses such as antidiarrheal and antimicrobial. The name “araçá” comes from Tupi and means “plant that has eyes”. The species can also be used in the recovery of degraded areas, because it grows fast and attracts fauna, being very appreciated mainly by birds.
Paw-of-cow or claw-of-ox (Bauhinia forficata)
The leaves of this tree are used to treat infectious and painful processes, and as an auxiliary treatment for diabetes, by reducing the level of glucose in the blood.
These are small samples of how rich the Amazon rainforest is and how much must be preserved, we are far from the reality that the people who live there face but an ocean is formed by drops of water.
I’m not here to say that what should be done, life is racing and we need to worry about ourselves and live in the now but awareness is important and never hypocrisy. If you liked the post leave a comment and a like.