OCT 20, 2016 3:59 PM PDT

Fast facts: which plants are important for medicine?


Many plant-based substances can be used for medicinal purposes. Everyone's grandma has at least one or two household remedies, and most likely, one of these utilizes plants.

Alkaloids are a broad group of plants that include caffeine, nicotine, and morphine. One such alkaloid is atropine, a compound found all over the Deadly Nightshade plant. Yes, as its name suggests, this plant is not one whose berries you want to go around eating (consuming just 10 of them can be fatal). However, atropine also can be used for positive medical purposes, such as a sedative for short surgeries or an antidote against certain types of poison.

Artemisinin is another example of a compound found in a plant that humans have put to good use. Artemisinin, in the sweet wormwood plant, can be used to treat malaria. However, this plant is just one of 1,200 plant species around the world that can treat malaria!

Even diabetes can be treated from a plant called Goat's Rue which contains a compound called metformin. To learn more about common medicinal plants, keep watching!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
JAN 08, 2021
Space & Astronomy
New Findings Suggest Dark Matter Doesn't Exist
JAN 08, 2021
New Findings Suggest Dark Matter Doesn't Exist
The existence of dark matter has been considered a 'given' for decades as a way to understand some of the less e ...
MAR 31, 2021
Plants & Animals
Spring Winds Following Warmer Winters Cause Mass Jellyfish Strandings
MAR 31, 2021
Spring Winds Following Warmer Winters Cause Mass Jellyfish Strandings
Beachgoers are certainly not fond of jellyfish in the water, but seeing hundreds of them wash ashore is an interesting a ...
MAY 02, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Average Day on Venus Lasts 243 Earth Days
MAY 02, 2021
Average Day on Venus Lasts 243 Earth Days
Although Venus is our planet’s closest neighbour, its fundamental properties have remained largely unknown. Now th ...
MAY 30, 2021
Space & Astronomy
New Discovery Casts Origin of Milky Way into Doubt
MAY 30, 2021
New Discovery Casts Origin of Milky Way into Doubt
A detailed cross-section of another galaxy, known as YGC 10738, has cast previous ideas of how the Milky Way was formed ...
JUN 04, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Scientists Identify 90 Drugs that Could be Repurposed to Fight COVID-19
JUN 04, 2021
Scientists Identify 90 Drugs that Could be Repurposed to Fight COVID-19
Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute in California have identified 90 drugs that could be repurposed for trea ...
JUL 13, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Artificial Lighting Disrupts Pollinating Insects' Vision
JUL 13, 2021
Artificial Lighting Disrupts Pollinating Insects' Vision
Artificial lighting can affect the eyesight of moths that rely on night-time vision, such as the elephant hawkmoth. The ...
Loading Comments...