- May 16, 2020
Untapped New Medication
Rainforests are the ultimate sources of medicinal solutions, standing asinfinite valuable resources in the fight against diseases. Ournatural habitats such as rain forests have the potential of providingus with the treatments for a multitude of diseases as well as otherbeneficial bioactive agents (Veeresham102).From the ancient days, the traditional healing system depended onrain forests as the backbone of traditional healing. Although the useof bioactive natural elements as herbal medicines dates back tohundreds of years ago, their use has failed to gain prominence in thecontemporary society (Savoia17).To make matters worse, there are high deforestation rates across theworld as individuals and companies target rain forests for commerciallogging and other domestic uses such as firewood. Additionally, therise in large-scale agriculture in Asia, South America, and Africahas resulted to the clearing of rain forests, which in turn threatenthe existence of these ecosystems rich in medicinal properties(Trichuret al., 23).Only a fraction of rain forest species have been tested for theirmedicinal properties, and the continued eradication of rain foreststhreatens the discovery of other hidden medicines.
Governmentefforts as well as environmental protection agencies should focuskeenly on the conservation of rain forests across the world. It iswell documented that rain forests can play a significant role in thedevelopment of modern day medical solutions, especially regardingantibacterial as well as antitumor agents (Harveyet al., 19).There are more cancer cases today than any other time in history. Itis projected that many countries, especially in the developed world,will continue to register increasing cases of the disease in theyears to come. Therefore, rain forests can provide the mostcost-effective medical solutions to mitigate the devastating effectsof cancer (Harveyet al., 19).Additionally, many countries have recorded worrying trends indicatingincreasing cases of drug-resistant bacteria for diseases such astuberculosis.
Wecontinue to destroy our natural ecosystems yet they can provide uswith solutions for our health challenges. Rain forests have beenaccorded very little attention as compared to computationalchemistry. With new regulations regarding standardization and qualitycontrol, rain forests can overtake computational chemistry as sourcesof medicine because of their superior acceptability and toleranceindices among patients (Arehart,211).As governments continue to formulate these regulations, rain forestsshould be protected to ensure that the resources exist after theselaws come into effect. However, the renewal of interests in thedevelopment of these solutions requires the confluence ofharmonization of regulations and modern day medical discoverytechniques.
Rainforests should be protected because apart from rain forest elementsthat have found direct use as medicines, some naturally occurringelements with no direct medical use can be used as templates orchemical models for the synthesis, semi-synthesis and design of novelproducts used during treatment processes. Rain forests have beenunderutilized especially in the development of synthetic chemicalsthat result in minimal side effects in patients. The utility of rainforests in the provision of novel structures is still in its infancytherefore, there is a need to protect them to realize their maturity(Taylor212).Close to 40% of the total approved drugs within the last 30 years areextracted either indirectly or directly from rain forest species.With adequate protection of rain forests, this percentage is likelyto increase in the future.
Inthe development of human culture, rain forests continue to play a bigrole in the magical-religious beliefs regarding various aspects ofhealth and disease eradication. However, the western society exercisethe belief that rain forest medication is used by the poor and as ademonstration of religious superstition (Taylor201).These beliefs continue to water down the pharmacological value ofrain forest medicine in favor of commercialized medical products. Itis therefore mandatory that relevant bodes provide public educationon the importance of rain forests to enable them to appreciate theneed to preserve our rain forests. If the Western society appreciatesthe medicinal role of rain forests, then they will engage actively intheir preservation.
Westill have countless untested medicinal rain forest species that canrevolutionize how treatment is done. The use of medicines from rainforests has shown impressive effectiveness towards diseaseseradication as well as patient acceptance and tolerance. Despite thescreening of over 50,000 rain forest plant species for medicalpurposes, advancements in natural medicine from plants remainstagnant. With only 50000 rain forest plant species tested for theirmedicinal characteristics, there is a high possibility that thetested species represent only about 5% of the total rainforestmedicinal trees. Rain forests can provide us with the best solutionsfor curing modern-day diseases arising from lifestyle changes as wellas the effects of a changing global climate (Taylor195). Through a better understanding of molecular biology, old moleculescan find new applications in modern day medicine. Without protectingthe rain forests, we might never find these treatments for modern-dayailments.
Rainforest medicines can be the only sustainable solutions for illnesses.Clinically useful artificial antibiotics are exhibiting significantsetbacks in their areas of use such as organ damages. These damagesmay be severe sometimes with their regular use (Veeresham199).Again, the emergence of drug-resistant pathogens remains most seriouschallenge so far. Rain forests, when used appropriately, can providebenefits that either augment the desirable characteristics ofcommercial medicines or reduce the dangerous effects of someantibiotics. Rain forests have in them microbials, which have thepotential to operate synergistically with antibiotics. Even rainforest compounds that lack intrinsic antibacterial activity cansensitize the pathogens of antibiotics that may turn out asineffective (Jackson34).Science bodies should identify these important rain forest speciesand outline measures of protecting them.
Apartfrom being good sources of antimicrobial compounds, studies haveshown that rain forests can produce multi-drug resistance inhibitorsthat can boost the anti-bacterial factors of normal drugs (Arehart301).However, to bring such studies to reality, there is a need to screenrain forests to determine their synergetic interaction withantibiotics. The combination of all these properties can result inthe most effective natural treatments of our time. Therefore,governments, environmental protection agencies, and nongovernmentalauthorities should champion for the protection of natural forests topreserve these important untapped sources of medicine.
Rainforests are important sources of medicine and continue to play a keyrole in the development of modern medicine. However, massivedeforestations caused by economic, demographic and climatic changesthreaten the existence of rain forests with medicinal properties.Many of the species with medical properties have not yet beenidentified. Therefore, there is a need for governments andenvironmental protection agencies to protect rain forests as a way ofpreserving the unfound medication. Government efforts should focus onbanning illegal logging, as well as the prohibition of unregulatedtrade in medicinal rain forests. Additionally, scientists should beaccorded enough financial and infrastructural support to test rainforest species for their medicinal properties to determine the rainforest species that need increased protection from destructive humanactivities. These efforts will lead to the preservation of rainforest species with medicinal properties that will be helpful in thefuture.
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