Uses of chemicals originating from plant defence mechanisms in medicine

  • Created by: BethanyM
  • Created on: 13-06-15 18:13


Quinine is from the cinchona tree, found in Java and Indonesia. Quinine lowers body temperature and is an effective anti-malarial drug. 

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Aspirin is from the willow tree so is found in many locations across the world. The medical substance salicin is used to manufacture the drug. 

Aspirin is a very useful painkiller (anti-inflammatory). It also reduces fever (anti-pyretic) and reduces blood clots (anti-platelet), making it useful for heart attack or stroke victims. 

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Taxol comes from the Pacific Yew Tree. It is an anti-cancer drug used in chemotheraphy. 

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Vinblastine and vincristine

Both vinblastine and vincristine are sourced from the Rosy Periwinkle, found in tropical rainforests. Both are anti-cancer drugs which reduce cancer cells, used in chemotheraphy. 

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Artemisinin is sourced from the Artemisia Annua shrub in China and South East Asia. Artemisinin kills the malaria parasite and prevents reproduction, so is an anti-malarial treatment. 

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