Nature’s marvellous medicine

View Nature’s marvellous medicine

Presenter: Diana Bowles

Published: July 2013

Age: 14-19 and upwards

Views: 653 views

Tags: medicine;drug;plant;extract;taxol

Type: Discussions

Source/institution: Royal Society


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For hundreds of years we have used plants and their extracts for their healing properties. Ancient Egyptians chewed white willow bark to relieve fevers and reduce inflammation, and many years later scientists discovered that the bark contains salicylic acid, the active ingredient used to make aspirin. Today we continue to turn to plants for medicinal uses, such as harvesting the bark of Yew trees to produce Taxol, a chemotherapy drug for treating cancer. In this panel discussion we investigate how sustainable it is to derive our medicines from natural resources, exploring the medical, economical and social benefits in comparison to drugs synthesised in the lab.

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