Medicines and drugs are essential parts of our lives that can help to treat illnesses or to cure them. From the paracetamol that we take when we have a headache to insulin that is needed by people who have type 1 diabetes, medical research has led us to being able to treat many illnesses which would have once been fatal, as well as meaning that people who have certain illnesses can manage them and enjoy a better quality of life.
There are many ways that scientists and doctors test various treatments and come up with new and improved ones – from working in a laboratory and testing the ingredients of certain things, to using services like patient recruitment services through Richmond Pharmacology to run larger clinical trials and study how well certain medicines work.
Humans have long battled to come up with ways to treat illnesses – from the father of vaccination, the creator of the smallpox vaccine Edward Jenner, who took a risk and it worked out, to more recent times when we have come up against the novel coronavirus and scientists all around the world have worked hard on vaccinations as well as life saving anti-viral drugs that can drastically lessen the chances of falling seriously ill with the disease.
Because illness is a pert of life and something that has always been around for as long as humans have been, before the age of modern medicine humans looked to the natural world as a way to treat illness, Interestingly, many of these remedies and cures that come from plants, are still being explored and researched today and many can successfully still be used to treat a wide range of illnesses – here are some examples of this…
Yew Trees are ancient and mysterious, in folklore they are often associated with death and almost every part of this tree is known to be highly toxic. However, they are also an important part of treating cancer! The needles of the yew tree contain chemicals that stop new cancer cells from developing. So, when doctors want to stop the growth of new cancer cells, the chemical extracted from the needles of the Yew tree is used as an effective treatment in modern medicine!
The Elder tree was often referred to in days gone by as the por man medicine chest, as most parts of the tree can be used to help treat various ailments. Most notably, the berries, containing high amounts of vitamins and antioxidants were trialled by the NHS as a way to combat Covid-19 on patients in hospital with the virus. Many people still swear by taking a syrup made from elderberries in the winter when colds and flu are doing the rounds.
Foxgloves – Another plant that is known to be highly toxic – but interestingly can also use the toxic chemicals within it as a cure is the foxglove. Although it is certainly not something that you should try to do yourself, the chemicals in foxgloves when taken in the correct quantities are used to treat heart problems such as irregular heartbeats and congestive heart failure.