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
DEC 22, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 22, 2019
Ever Wonder What Happens Inside a Clam's Shell?
Most people think of clams as a gooey blob inside of a two-piece shell, but there’s actually a lot more going on inside that shell that you might com...
FEB 03, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 03, 2020
How NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft is Studying Mars' Ionosphere
If you ever listen to the radio and experience a phenomenon in which the broadcast sounds garbled or as if another radio station is attempting to play over...
FEB 03, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 03, 2020
Watch a Polar Bear Mom Scare Off a Bully So Her Cubs Can Eat
Polar bears realize that food can be scarce at times, and that’s a problem considering just how much they like to eat. In many cases, they find food ...
FEB 04, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 04, 2020
What Are NASA's 'Great Observatories?'
NASA recently retired its Spitzer Space Telescope, one of four specialized space-based observatories that together made up the American Space Agency’...
FEB 13, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
FEB 13, 2020
What is Antimatter, the "Most Expensive" Substance on Earth?
Scientists have long theorized that our world shouldn't have existed, because the equal amount of matter and antimatter created during the toddlerhood...
FEB 18, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 18, 2020
Will We Ever Solve the Universe's 'Dark Matter' Mystery?
If you were to take a step back from the Milky Way and attempt to observe our universe, you’d see a plethora of bright and colorful sectors made up o...
Loading Comments...