OCT 20, 2016 03:59 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
NOV 16, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 16, 2019
Here's What We've Learned About Jupiter From Juno So Far
It seems like it wasn’t too long ago that NASA’s Juno spacecraft entered orbit around Jupiter, but don’t be fooled, as the spacecraft has...
NOV 16, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 16, 2019
How Large Solar Storms Can Impact Earth's Power Grid
The Sun is a powerful ball of energy, and with that in mind, it should come as no surprise to anyone that it can sometimes become unstable. Over time, the...
NOV 16, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 16, 2019
NASA's Dawn Mission Taught Us Much About the Asteroid Vesta
In 2011, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft arrived at its destination, enabling planetary scientists with the American space agency to study a particularly capt...
NOV 16, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 16, 2019
It's True, Elephants Are Highly Intelligent Animals
If you’re ever asked what the world’s smartest animal is, then the humble elephant should certainly come to mind. These incredible beasts have...
NOV 16, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 16, 2019
Even Seabirds in Remote Regions Are Impacted by Climate Change
Antarctic albatrosses are one of the world’s most distinguishable seabirds, and if you didn’t already know, they rely on the strong breezes tha...
NOV 16, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 16, 2019
What Makes Lions Such Incredible Predators?
Lions sport a reputation as one of nature’s fiercest beasts, but have you ever wondered what makes them such renowned predators? These large cats are...
Loading Comments...