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Co-Founder, Rainforest Renee
Shares Why the Rainforest   
is Important to You.     
The Rainforest Saves Lives Through Medicinal Discoveries

One of the most exciting benefits the rainforest has to offer is its vast array of species also known as biodiversity.  The rainforest is host to over 50% of the world’s known plant, animal and micro organism species, including many that have helped cure major illness and disease.  In the United States 25% of prescription drugs include compounds that were discovered in the rainforest. For instance common household drugs like Aspirin were derived from extracts of willow trees found in the rainforest.  Vinblastine and vincristine, chemicals that can be taken out of the Madagascar periwinkle (now extinct), also called the vinca, produces vinca alkaloids used to treat Hodgkins lymphoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia in children. This drug alone increased the chances of survival for children with leukemia from 20 percent to 80 percent.  Fortunately, it was discovered and the compounds were copied before the Madagascar periwinkle became extinct from rainforest destruction. 

Madagascar Periwinkle

Compounds from rainforest plants are also used to treat malaria, heart disease, bronchitis, hypertension, rheumatism, diabetes, muscle tension, arthritis, glaucoma, dysentery and tuberculosis, among other health problems. Many over the counter anesthetics, enzymes, hormones, laxatives, cough mixtures, antibiotics and antiseptics are derived from rainforest plants and herbs.

The most important fact, despite the rainforest being host to over 50% of the world’s known species, less the 1% of the rainforest has been studied for medicinal purposes. All the drugs mentioned were discovered with little research.  Imagine what could be discovered if we committed to aggressive research.  How many lives could be saved or given a chance at a better life?

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