Plant, a multicellular organism that has been around for millions of years and has been the one of the main sources of oxygen, food and medicinal items. Plant has been carefully studied for the past centuries and humans are still yet to discover certain plant uses and metabolites for years to come. Plants have been also used as ornaments and can be a beautiful decoration. But as years passed by, plants has become unpopular due to the increase of synthetic materials and artificial not until today. Plant researches have been a common trend especially in medicine. Herbal medicine has been one of the most recent research trends. Some countries are investing to this kind of research to know more about botanical medicine and to be able to discover certain plant metabolites that can possibly cure certain types of diseases that has no cure up to this day. Some countries like Africa use plant materials as one of the main sources of medicinal items used to treat certain illnesses and diseases. According to statistics, about 80% of Africans use some type of herbal medicine. And according to the World Health Organization, in the Philippines, there are about 250,000 medical practioners.
Currently, botanical stidies in the Philippines is being endorsed by the different councils regarding public health, one of which is the Department of Health or DOH. DOH is endorsing 10 specific plants to do research in, namely Ampalaya, that is said to contain insulin that can help lower blood sugar, Akapulko, can be used to treat respiratory problems and some skin infection like eczema and athlete’s foot, Garlic, can be used for bug bites and certain respiratory illnesses, Lagundi, can be used gastro-intestinal treatments and coughs, colds and fever, Niog-niogan, can be used in treatments for urinal irregularities, treatments for joint pain and skin diseases, Pansit-pansitan, can be used for treating skin infections, boils, and can be used to treat pimples, Sambong, can be used to treat illnesses in the urinary system and treat wounds, Tsaang-gubat is mostly used in in treating diarrhea, poisonings and can be an alternative mouth wash and Yerba-buena, that is used to treat insect bites, treat muscle pain and dysmenorrhea (knoji 10 highly endorsed Herbal Plants in the Philippines).
Most botanical researches are dedicated to certain causes like cancer, which affects people around the world. According to Cancer Statistics, in 2018, there is an estimate that about 17 million cases of cancer will be newly diagnosed. HIV and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia is also being carefully studied in hopes to find a cure in plant metabolites. Because of the increase of interest to botanical medicine, debates have aspired towards herbal medicine and the artificial medicine. Some people argue towards the effectiveness of all natural medicinal treatments due to the lack of researches supporting plant medicine against the carefully studied artificial medicine. But, some statistical data show that artificial medicine can futhermore, cause damage. According to statistics, about 8% of hospital admissions came from drug lethality cases and annually, 100,000 people die because of toxicity and that is just in the United States alone.
Because of this, a lot of medically inclined people still argue about which is better, because both types has their own setbacks. On the other hand, both have advantages in the medical field. Artificial medicine is a type of therapy which uses artificial compounds and is highly treated with chemicals. Though artificial medicine poses a huge possibility of lethality, if taken right and appropriately, artificial medicine could benefit more people and lessen drug over dose and drug misuse cases. Herbal treatments is still not widely explored and can be the answer for some illnesses that is still uncurable to this day. Herbal plants contain compounds that is antioxidant and supports natural healing of the body, cardiovascular diseases, neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, and cancer. Many associations hope for the answers that herbal medicine can offer to medicine’s future. Studies are still being conducted regarding herbal medicine, such as metabolites, nutrients and toxicities of certain common plant samples.
Capsicum frutescens, also known as wild chili is an erect plant that heights about 1-2 meters. The plant has characteristics of growing pods to make space for the fruits to grow. The plant is mostly known because of being edible and is best know in the Philippines. The origins of the plant is unknown, some say that the plant originated in some part of Mexico and was distributed in the Philippines due to the large scale of barter in the 16th century, while on the other hand, some say that it originated in South America and is already cultivated for 9000 years. The fruit of wild chili is often used in condiment-making and can also be dried to be used as chili powder, the fruit of the plant has a very spicy taste and has a Scoville unit score of 80,000 to 100,000 and is once listed in Guiness Book of World Records as the Spiciest Chili but was replace by other spicier variants. The leaves are often used for cooking dishes and has a very bland taste to it and is usually combined in soups.
Wild chili is also known for the plant’s medicinal value and health benefits. The plant can overall improve brain performance due plant’s ability to supply sufficient oxygen and iron to the brain, can contribute to production of red blood cells because of having iron and copper that is vital for red blood cell production, the plant also contains folic acid which supports the production, the plant can also be a pain reliever because of the ability of the plant to desensitize sensors because of the presence of capsaicin, can be helpful in cardiovascular diseases due to the content of potassium that ables relaxation of blood vessels, boosts immunity due to having high contents of vitamins A and C, and a lot more according to Jessimy, M. (2018). However, there are certain dangers that the plant’s fruit posses, due to the extreme spiciness. People with ulcer or heartburn is not recommended to eat this kind of chili, because the capsaicin may increase stomach acidity, making drugs less effective.
Some reports about pepper eating have included hospital stories. Two journalists tried the hottest burger called XXX Hot Chili Burger with a special sauce made by the restaurant owner that is said to have a higher Scoville Scale than a normal pepper spray. Both journalists ended up having a hard time to breathe after one bite, hyperventilating, in severe stomach pain and lost the feeling in their hands. Both had to go to the hospital due to the unbearable pain it caused them. According to Bruce Bryant, a biologist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia in Can you hurt yourself eating chili? , the physical effects of pepper is caused by the body’s perception to real burns or the sensation burning. Though, this story is not specifically about the wild chili, this still poses a warning to pepper eating’s danger. Peppers don’t really burn your mouth or esophagus, this is just a myth. Capsaicin is the culprit that makes peppers so hot. It binds together with receptors in the tongue making the mouth feel a burning sensation, making the brain think that the mouth is burning. Though this plant is mostly used to benefit the user, over use or misuse of the plant can bring futher harm to the user rather than making them better, due to this, it is recommended to take the fruit of the plant in moderation.
Ethanol or ethyl alcohol (CH3CH2OH) is a solvent and is clear and colour-less that is mostly used in making alcoholic beverages, gasoline and as a disinfectant. Ethanol is mostly used in cosmetic products because of being a good disinfectant because of its bacticidal properties and is a common ingredient in hand sanitizers. In the 1850s, ethanol is used as lighting fuel, tax was later on added to fund the civil war. Ethanol can be produced by fermentation of plant products such as sugar canes and corn but advancements have been mage and there are now other variants of ethanol. A variant of ethanol can be produced breaking down plant cells, the resulting product is called cellulosic ethanol. Cellulosic ethanol can be obtained from trees, grasses and agricultural residue, this type of ethanol is now considered as a bio fuel and is definitely much more complex than fermentation. Ethanol is also used in medicine. The chemical is prominently used in cough syrups to help dissolve active ingredients or to help the preservation of the drug. At the moment, some research studies are focusing on the net energy of ethanol to probably become an alternative to fossil fuels. Ethanol is considered as a renewable source of energy, given the fact that ethanol is mostly derived from plant materials. In Brazil, ethanol is already used in gasolines, they call a variant of gasoline as gasohol, which is a blend of gasoline (76%) and alcohol (24%). According to Oliveria in Ethanol as Fuel: Energy, Carbon Dioxide Balances, and Ecological Footprint, the overall mass production of ethanol in the country has decreased the production of fossil fuels; thus having a better impact towards the environment and decreasing the carbon foot-print produced by the country. In the U.S., 98% of gasolines contains ethanol (90% gasoline and 10% ethanol) to reduce air pollution caused by fossil fuels.
Ethanol can be a toxic material when misused, given the fact that it can cause headaches when ingested and is easily absorbed by the gastro-intestinal tract, ethanol can also cause burns in the eyes and skin. Ethanol is also highly flammable and should not be used near open flames.
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