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Cause of evolution of medicinal plants

  1. Nov 24, 2013 #1
    i wish to know why have plants with exactly required medicinal value has evolved. is there a some sort of lock and key like reason which helps to evolve medicinal plants for many disease? i also want to the logic behind using water and other solvent for extraction of solvents. some time heating , centrifuge ,etc also help in extraction of medicine from herbs and other herbal plants?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 24, 2013 #2


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    Don't forget that all mammals (including humans) share a common ancestor with plants. We are closer to plants then we are to bacteria. We are both eukaryotes, and we both have mechanisms to defend against prokaryotes*. So the chances of overlap in structure/function relationships isn't terribly surprising.

    That being said, I don't know anything about plant evolution or possibility of co-evolution of human and plants.
  4. Nov 24, 2013 #3


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    While some plants are beneficial, some are also deadly, it's just chance. Whether a plant product is beneficial or deadly can also depend on the amount and preparation.
  5. Nov 25, 2013 #4


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    It's funny that some plants like peppers evolved to discourage mammals from eating their fruit, turns out that didn't work out so well for them. :rofl:

    Many of the medical compounds in plants do something for the plant chemically, like fight infection, regulate cell apoptosis or growth, etc. It just so turns out that some of these organic compounds also have parallels in human biology. So in short, plants have developed these compounds completely oblivious to any benefit we humans might reap from them.
  6. Nov 27, 2013 #5
    Another, less benevolente resource of such chemicals: Many plants generate and express chemicals from their roots to destroy or damage any other plant (or other plant of certain species) that tries to grow near them.

    Plants are just a vicious as animals, but they have to use chemicals rather than teeth and claws.
  7. Nov 28, 2013 #6


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    Please remember to cite sources.

    Here is info about how the toxins put out by the roots of the black walnut tree kills off surrounding plants.

    http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1148.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  8. Nov 28, 2013 #7


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    Of zillions compounds produced by millions of plant species only a bunch have medicinal value. This is pretty random.

    Sure, we share part of biochemistry, so in some cases deeper links can exist.
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