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Over-Harvesting and the Extinction of Medicinal Plants

            Have you ever wondered where your medicine comes from? In today's medicine, about fifty to sixty percent of pharmaceutical drugs "are either of natural origin or obtained through use of natural products" (Government of Canada). For centuries, people have depended on these natural resources drawn from medicinal plants to alleviate pain and fight infections. Medicinal plants continue to aid in the discoveries of medicines utilized to cure the deadliest diseases such as heart disease and cancer. In order to meet the populations increasing demand for medicine, the act of over-harvesting transpires. Over-harvesting is the act of gathering plants in an abrupt matter, degrading its ability for the plant to re-flourish. It is endangering medicinal plants and rapidly leading them into extinction. Over-harvesting influenced by over-demanding needs, greed, and ignorance is leading to extinction of medicinal plants, limiting the opportunity for medical discoveries to cure the world's deadliest diseases and threatens the availability of medicine for future generations. .
             To begin with, the over-harvesting of medicinal plants is rapidly leading them to extinction, is a plant species known as Himalayan yew tree utilize to treat cancer, is on the verge of becoming extinct in result to deforestation in attempt to collect fuel. The bark of the yew tree is known to contain a substance called Taxol found in "a chemotherapy drug to treat cancer" and is part of the "9,568 [species] critically endangered (Gersmann and Aldred). The destruction of it habit need to "be controlled to ensure it is sustainable" to continue obtaining Taxol that are vital to the millions of cancer patients fighting for their life (Gersmann and Aldred). Last year both my parents were diagnose with cancer, and knowing that these plant species that are found in rainforests can help them win the ever dreading cancer fight, brings hope not only to my family and I, but to the millions other patients battling cancer.

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