Friday, January 25, 2008

The BBC reports: "Medicinal plants 'facing threat' "

I wasn't aware Magnolias were used medicinally. I love the beauty of the flowers and the structure of the tree branches but never thought they had any pharmacologically active properties. The BBC reports that many medicinal plants are at risk of extinction. "Magnolia - Has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for 5,000 years as it is believed to help fight cancer, dementia and heart disease. Half the world's species threatened, mostly due to deforestation".

"And half of the world's species of magnolias are also under threat.
The plant contains the chemical honokiol, which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat cancers and slow down the onset of heart disease."

Some other plants at risk are: "Yew tree - Cancer drug paclitaxel is derived from the bark, but it takes six trees to create a single dose so growers are struggling to keep up
Hoodia - Plant has sparked interest for its ability to suppress appetite, but vast quantities have already been "ripped from the wild" as the search for the miracle weight drug continues".

It would be unfortunate to lose 1/2 the species of Magnolias let alone even 1%. I wish we had more space in our yard to plant more varieties but we have to content ourselves with 10 different species. :) Some are shown below.

You can read the whole article here or click on the BBC link above.


Blogger kate said...

After reading the BBC article, your Magnolia blooms looked even better.

You have quite the collection of beautiful blooms here. I like the shape of the yellow bloom. It is such a lovely subtle colour.

9:20 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Kate,
The Magnolias are much cherished but you're quite right, they look even better now after reading the BBC article.

The subtle yellow colored magnolia is falsely depicted. The photo is of the native M. virginiana and the camera gave the white flower a peculiar light yellow cast. The other darker yellow colored magnolia is the 'Butterflies' and the color is quite faithful.

Most of the magnolias already have formed buds. This year two trees will bloom for the first time so we are quite excited to see what the flowers will look like. Thanks for your comment. I can hardly wait for spring.

6:18 PM  

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