Beautiful Plant Leads to Beautiful Healing:
The rosy periwinkle plant from the tropical rainforests in Madagascar produces pretty pink flowers. But there’s much more to rosy periwinkle than meets the eye. Deep within this beautiful plant are chemicals that can heal people.
Hidden Treasures Revealed:
Scientists who were intrigued by the fact that traditional Madagascan healers used rosy periwinkle to help treat diabetes decided to research other potential medicinal uses for the plant. They discovered hidden treasures within rosy periwinkle, in the form of chemicals that they could use to create medicines for cancer patients.
The chemicals from rosy periwinkle that are used in medicines, which are called vinca alkaloids, have reduced children’s leukemia survival rates so dramatically that some people call rosy periwinkle a miracle plant. Before vinca alkaloids were discovered, the average survival rate from children’s leukemia was just 10 percent. But now that doctors can treat children with drugs made from vinca alkaloids, about 95 percent of all children with leukemia survive.
More Miracles Waiting to Happen:
Tropical rainforests contain scores of other plants that may also provide miraculous medical treatments. Yet, despite the fact that existing medicines derived from rainforest plants already help treat hundreds of conditions from cancer to heart disease, scientists have tested only a miniscule amount of rainforest plants -- less than one percent! -- to discover what lifesaving chemicals may be inside. Many more rainforest plants could have treasures just waiting for scientists to use to produce new medicines, that then could give many patients the miraculous healing they seek from a wide variety of afflictions.
Sources: Living Rainforest.org and Rainforest-Alliance.org