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WEEDS FOR FUTURE MEDICINES

A study from the University of Geogia and the University of Michigan showed that most of the medications that you will take in the future are highly likely to come from weeds, because weeds have such weak structures that they need chemicals that kill viruses, bacteria, fungi, animals and even man to protect them. These chemicals protect you when they get into your cells after you eat them.

Drs. John Stepp of the University of Georgia and Daniel Moerman of the University of Michigan report that, in the future, most new drugs will come from weeds that overgrow in your vacant lot or along the highway. Digitalis, used for almost 350 years to treat heart failure comes from the foxglove plant. Many modern medications are laboratory copies of chemicals made by plants.

Drs. Stepp and Moerman went to Chiapas , Mexico, where 80 percent of the people speak only the Mayan language, showing that they are in a culture that is isolated from the modern world and holds on to old traditions and customs for hundreds of years. So they are treating diseases in the same way that they have been doing for more than a thousand years. The villagers gave them 105 different plants that they used to treat diseases. The doctors report that 35 of the 105 plants were weeds, fast growing plants that have a difficult time competing with other plants, so they don't have their own place to grow and can grow only in places where man or nature has cleared the land or built trails, knocking off slower growing and more hardy plants that would normally live there. For weeds to comprise 35 perent of the plants used for medicinal purposes is amazing, because weeds normally occupy only a small part of the landscape.

Drs. Stepp and Moerman feel that weeds offer the greatest chance to discover new drugs from plants. The more hardy plants grow slowly and have thick bark, woody stems and thick leaves that offer a barrier protection against insects, molds, bacteria, viruses, animals and man. Since weeds have to grow very fast to just stay alive, they have thin structures, no bark, fragile stems and droopy leaves. Therefore they do not have natural protective covers like more slowly growing plants and have to produce lots of antioxidants to help them heal when they are broken, lots of insecticides, fungicides, bactericides, virucides and even poisons to protect them from the many other beings on earth that want to replace them. In the future, chances are that most of your medicines will be extracted from weeds.

Checked 1/7/04

June 1st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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