Biology

28,000 species of plants with medicinal use are documented

A study carried out by the Royal British Botanical Garden of Kew in London has registered 28,187 species of medicinal plants in their latest research and they mention that it is also a very conservative figure. It is one of the many reasons to protect biodiversity and ecosystems that we will never tire of repeating.

The Kew Botanical Garden has an extensive botanical collection of around 8.5 million species and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This institution in its second “State of the World’s Plants” where 128 researchers from 12 countries participated, indicated that 1,730 new plant species had been discovered.

Plant species with high medicinal value

New plant species include 5 new species of yuccas found in Brazil, seven new Aspalathus plants used to make rooibos tea in South Africa, and a new species of parsnip discovered in Turkey.

The report highlights the high potential plants have in diseases such as diabetes and malaria, says Monique Simmonds, deputy director of science for this renowned botanical group.

In the past year alone, nine species of climbing plants that are used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease have been discovered . In addition, two plants like mugwort and quinine are the two most important weapons against malaria that killed 400,000 people in 2015.

However, despite their potential, only 16% of these more than 28,000 species were cited in regulatory publications.

The families with the highest number of medicinal species are the Moráceas but also those of the families of Apiaceae, Rutáceas, Fabaceas, Apocináecas ,, Euforbiáceas, Málvaceas, Ranunculáceas, Lamiáceas (which include rosemary, thyme, etc.) …

Risks of globalization for plants

This report also shows the loss of vegetation by analyzing satellite images. The report shows that during the last 16 years an average of 340 million hectares are burned each year, an area equivalent to India and that it is increasing every year .

This is not necessarily negative since there are species, fundamentally those of prairie, that require fire to regenerate but there are many others that are produced to completely change the use of a land that must be taken into account, such as Indonesia and palm oil .

This report also reflects the global health of the plants , and warns that the world faces an annual bill of 492,000 million euros for the expansion of pests and pathogens. Not only is it an economic bill but it is deadly in places like Africa where the worm plague wiped out corn crops and caused the consequent famine.

The fundamental cause is the global trade and exchange of plants that allow them to expand more easily. It is necessary to take stricter measures in biosecurity to avoid the global spread of pests

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