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Doctor’s Perspective: Importance of Trees on Human Health

Sep 05, 2019

Doctor’s Perspective: Importance of Trees on Human Health

The importance of trees on our health may sound a bit overrated but the brutal truth is that we can never survive without trees. Besides being a source of fruits which we eat every day as a source of vitamin C, trees have a great positive impact on the climate. They provide oxygen to the environment hence enhancing the quality of air. This is in addition to other benefits such as soil and water conversation, as well as climate amelioration.

Did you know that one tree is capable of providing a supply of oxygen for four people? On the contrary one person’s supply of carbon dioxide supplies to five trees. That alone explains that not tending and taking care of trees is like stabbing ourselves and expecting the next person to be hurt.

Trees absorb airborne pollutants to this eliminates harmful pollutants from the atmosphere thus keeping our lungs healthy. According to recent medical research, prolonged exposure to air pollutants is a potential risk factor of cancer. We all know that cancer is one of the world’s disaster and a leading cause of death. What if we would pick up a challenge and plant more trees even as we try finding a cure for this menace?

“Did you know that one tree is capable of providing a supply of oxygen for 4 people?

Over 50,000 plant species are used medicinally with a global trade exceeding $60 billion per year and within kingdom Plantae. It is trees that make a substantial contribution to this figure. These species are used in both traditional and modern medicine. Important medicines are extracted from barks, leaves, wood, roots and flowers of trees. A major example is the anticancer called Taxol® (paclitaxel) which is derived from Taxus brevifolia (pacific yew) bark.

Related article: The Link; Climate Change and Wildfire

Paclitaxel is used to treat breast, lung and ovarian cancers as well as Kaposi’s sarcoma. One dose of taxol is derived from many trees of which one tree takes close to 100 years to mature substantially. This clearly poses as a challenge that causes cancer drugs to be quite expensive. Even though biopharma industries have worked on developing such drugs from the laboratory through R-DNA technology, it would be better if we got drugs directly from the original source. If we would plant more trees, then probably we would give the researchers an opportunity to develop more drugs.

According to a research done in Harvard, trees and a green environment tend to boost physical activity, social connections and hence a totality of improved mental health. It is so common to find people jogging in the woods than by the streets because of the serene environment. This leads to a totality of improved health in the society. We may never survive without trees; We need to really nurture them.

By Dr. Mercy Rispa M., a private practicing pharmacist.

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