Deforestation and Chemistry
Rain forests across the globe contain plants where their chemicals benefit humans. These plant chemicals are most widely used for medicinal purposes. The use of these medicinal chemicals were derived by observing rain forests natives, such as the Shamans in the Amazon rain forest in South America. Why do these rain forest plants have medicinal factors? These plants are alkaloids, which are naturally occurring chemical compounds that have mostly basic nitrogen atoms. Alkaloids have structural similarities to human central nervous systems. Hence, these alkaloids have been helpful in the making of successful pain killers.
Some of these medicinal plants have had immense contribution to the treatment world wide illnesses, and some help with minor ailments. In Madagascar a small flower, called the periwinkle, is a great cancer fighter. Initially native persons used it as diabetic treatment. The practice of the periwinkle flower for diabetic reasons led to its observation, concluding that it has vinblastine and vincristine. The vinblastine chemical has increased the survival of childhood leukemia. The other chemical, vincristine, aids in the treatment of Hodgkin's disease. In the Amazon, a vine called the cat's claw has been used by South Americans. This vine can stimulate the immune system and relax muscles. Rainforest deforestation decreases our medicinal benefits. We have not yet discovered and observed all the plant species in all of the rain forests across the globe. The deforestation of rain forests could destroy the cure for cancer or for HIV and Aids.