Dr. Kinghorn Reflection

I had no idea that there were 10,000 medicinal plants and only 3,000 food plants! I wonder what resources our commercialized pharmaceutical approaches might be missing out on, but perhaps not that many since 71% of our current medicines can be traced back to their original ethnobotanical uses. This presentation made me wonder how the uses for drugs are discovered. For example, the “Ordeal Bean” – how did researchers know to test its effectiveness for treating glaucoma, rather than the countless other ailments that affect us? I had never thought about this before, but now that I have, it’s given me a new appreciation of how incredible an achievement it is to produce an effective and safe drug. Dr. Kinghorn’s presentation has made me really interested in botany and medicinal plants, and I might try to visit Kew Gardens. I also had no idea that black pepper and other spices could be used to enhance the ability of certain drugs to enter the bloodstream, and I thought that was interesting.

One thought on “Dr. Kinghorn Reflection

  1. Yes, the student discussion was interesting in that it brought up the use of spices like black pepper. I was also pleasantly surprised by how many students got a new appreciation for the gardens we may see on our trip. If you don’t make it to Kew, the Jardin des Plantes in Paris is someplace you will certainly see, since it is the garden that the Natural History Museums we visit encompass.

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