Extracts from Plants Have Antimicrobial Activity Against Drug-Resistant Bacteria
Scientists from Emory University analyzed the properties of extracts from plants recorded by Confederate Surgeon General Samuel Moore in his paper "Standard supply table of the indigenous remedies for field service and the sick in general hospitals". Findings suggest that plant extracts used by Confederate during the American Civil War have antimicrobial activity against multidrug-resistant bacteria linked to wound infections. Plant remedies was widely used in the South during the war time because of the Union Navy blocked the South from trading with Europe.
Even today, many of the pharmaceuticals available to physicians in developed countries have a long history of use as herbal remedies, including opium, aspirin, digitalis, and quinine. According to the World Health Organization(WHO), approximately 25% of modern drugs used in the United States have been derived from plants. At least 7,000 medical compounds in the modern pharmacopoeia are derived from plants. Among the 120 active compounds currently isolated from the higher plants and widely used in modern medicine today, 80% show a positive correlation between their modern therapeutic use and the traditional use of the plants from which they are derived.
Pharmaceuticals are prohibitively expensive for most of the world's population, half of whom lived on less than $2 U.S. WHO estimates that 80 percent of the population of some Asian and African countries presently use herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care. per day in 2002. In comparison, herbal medicines can be grown from seed or gathered from nature for little or no cost.
"Plants have a great wealth of chemical diversity, which is one more reason to protect natural environments,"
- Micah Dettweiler, researcher at Emory University.