Yes, we will lose a significant amount of medicine if we continue to cut down our rain forests. For centuries, people have used plants found within the rain forests for their healing properties. It wasn’t until WWII when medicinal companies took notice to these medicines and began cataloging, researching, and synthesizing these natural remedies. The loss of the rain forests will cause the loss of many potential medicines. It will truly hurt the native tribes living around the rain forests who directly use the plants they find. Although, considering drug companies are able to synthesize many of these remedies, we will never lose all of the medical benefits found in rain forests.
Yes, various kinds of medicines will undeniably be lost if the rainforest continues to get cut down. 70% of the 3000 plants known to fight cancer come from the rainforest. 121 prescription drugs come from 90 species of plants found in rainforests. Pharmaceuticals derived from plants account for 25% of the perscriptions used in America. Each indigenous shaman knows how to use around 200 species of plants, and as they die, their knowledge dies with them. Finally, less than 1% of rainforest plants have been tested by scientists!
Yes we will lose current medicines and also lose the possibility of discovering new plants and micro-organisms. The world’s rain forest still has unlimited potential as far as medicinal research is concerned to benefit the human population.
We won’t lose any current medications if rainforests disappear. Even if some current medications are derived from plants growing in rain forests, most of these compounds are synthesized rather than derived from plant sources. And even those that ARE derived from plant sources are most likely sourced from plants grown on plantations or in greenhouses rather than wild plants growing in a rainforest.
On the other hand, the REAL loss is the potential to discover NEW drugs in plants growing in the rainforest. As with anything undiscovered, it is impossible to say how serious this loss could be. But given the vastness of rainforests and the potentially large number of undiscovered plant species, this loss could be HUGE.
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