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How Does Your Medicine Grow?

Yisrael Rutman

Many of the same chemicals found in plants that enable them to fight off disease and predators are helpful to humans too. Between 40 and 50 percent of all drugs currently in use have their origins in natural products. Among the most famous are aspirin (for headaches and arthritis), digitalis (for heart disease), and quinine (for malaria). This week, Jr. samples these wonderful gifts of nature — and it won’t hurt a bit.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

People have always used plants to treat disease. Long before drug companies began to make assembly-line pills and market products like Tylenol, Alka-Seltzer, and Prozac, people turned to the greatest pharmacy of all — the fields and forests. The Ancient Egyptians had hundreds of plant medicines, including garlic, juniper, castor bean, aloe, and mandrake. In the Middle Ages in Europe, dandelion was discovered to be a laxative and a treatment for liver problems. Researchers in Muslim countries studied the healing properties of nutmeg, senna, sandalwood, rhubarb, myrrh, cinnamon, and rosewater.

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