Did you know that over 40 percent of medicines that are prescribed in the United States contain chemicals derived from plants. Without plants, most medicines you take would not exist!!
When our ancestors drank tea made from the bark of a willow tree, they noticed that their aches and pains went away. Scientists later found that the bark of a willow tree contains salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin. And the native Pacific yew was burned for many years as trash in the Pacific Northwest by logging operations, then in 1975, taxol, a substance in its bark, was found to reduce the production of cancerous tumors.
It is an enormous task to search of known plants for medicinal chemicals, but chemists and botanists (those who study plants) continue to search the plant kingdom throughout the world, including the wild places in the United States, for new medicines.
Only 2 percent of the estimated 250,000 plant species on earth have been thoroughly screened for chemicals with potential medicinal use. Native plant habitats are destroyed almost daily, so before scientists can even investigate them, many medicinally valuable plants will be gone.
Source – PCA-MPWG (Plant Conservation Alliance – Medicinal Plant Working Group)