Medicinal Weeds – Overlooked Resource

Medicinal Weeds – Overlooked Resource

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JM: Many important medicinal remedies are derived from plants and some of those plants might be found in your own backyard. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Stepp: “Pharmaceutical companies seem to have spent an extraordinary amount of time looking in tropical forests for new medicinal plants. While there may be new medicinals to be found in tropical forests they’ve overlooked some plants that may be grown very close by like weeds, that could just be in peoples’ back yards that may serve as potential future pharmaceuticals.”

Rick Stepp is an assistant professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

“Well, there is a wide range of research that is being done by different pharmaceutical companies on plants that are considered to be weedy — Phytolacca americana or “poke weed” which commonly grows all over the southeast United States. There is some research being done as a potential treatment for HIV. At least in the test tube it shows some very significant progress toward that aim. Some other plants that I know of that pharmaceutical companies are looking at that are considered to be weedy — Equisetum which is “horsetail” it tends to grow in sort of marsh areas but is basically a weed in that it reproduces fairly quickly and is somewhat invasiveit is actually being looked at as a cure for type II diabetes, adult onset diabetes. A lot of this work is being carried out by European companies. There is some interest by US companies as well. Anti-depressants are another area where not a lot of medicinals that are known to treat it, although St. Johns Wort has shown to be very effective activity against anti-depression. In fact, one study came out that showed with a control group of people that were on Prozac that it was just as effective. That’s probably a fact that wouldn’t be of much interest to a pharmaceutical company because, of course, St. Johns Wort is commonly known in the public domain and wouldn’t really be a potential candidate for patenting to turn into a pharmaceutical.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation . I’m Jim Metzner.

Medicinal Weeds - Overlooked Resource

Common pokeweed is being studied as a potential remedy for HIV.
Air Date:07/21/2015
Scientist:
Transcript:

Medicinal Weeds - Overlooked Resource

Music

JM: Many important medicinal remedies are derived from plants and some of those plants might be found in your own backyard. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Stepp: "Pharmaceutical companies seem to have spent an extraordinary amount of time looking in tropical forests for new medicinal plants. While there may be new medicinals to be found in tropical forests they've overlooked some plants that may be grown very close by like weeds, that could just be in peoples' back yards that may serve as potential future pharmaceuticals."

Rick Stepp is an assistant professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

"Well, there is a wide range of research that is being done by different pharmaceutical companies on plants that are considered to be weedy -- Phytolacca americana or "poke weed" which commonly grows all over the southeast United States. There is some research being done as a potential treatment for HIV. At least in the test tube it shows some very significant progress toward that aim. Some other plants that I know of that pharmaceutical companies are looking at that are considered to be weedy -- Equisetum which is "horsetail" it tends to grow in sort of marsh areas but is basically a weed in that it reproduces fairly quickly and is somewhat invasiveit is actually being looked at as a cure for type II diabetes, adult onset diabetes. A lot of this work is being carried out by European companies. There is some interest by US companies as well. Anti-depressants are another area where not a lot of medicinals that are known to treat it, although St. Johns Wort has shown to be very effective activity against anti-depression. In fact, one study came out that showed with a control group of people that were on Prozac that it was just as effective. That's probably a fact that wouldn't be of much interest to a pharmaceutical company because, of course, St. Johns Wort is commonly known in the public domain and wouldn't really be a potential candidate for patenting to turn into a pharmaceutical."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation . I'm Jim Metzner.