彭蒙惠英语：20110223 MP3在线课程 Thanking Nature For Medicine
Thanking Nature For Medicine
by Carolyn Langlie-Lesnik / (c) 2010. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Surprising remedies can make all the difference
If someone saves your life, you want to express your gratitude however you can─a gesture, a "thank you" or somehow returning the favor. Yet when you owe your life to a plant found thousands of miles away, the task becomes much harder.
As a nurse, I've known for years that many life-saving medicines come from plants and animals found around the world. But I never thought that one day I would have to rely on the bark of a rare Asian tree to survive.
Nine years ago, I was diagnosed with appendicealcancer and told that I had only months to live. The mother of two young children at the time, I could not accept the prognosis. Luckily, I found a doctor who was willing to help me fight. I had major abdom inalsurgery and months of chemotherapy.
Today I am cancer free, in large part because of irinotecan. A drug that helps block the growth of cancer cells, irinotecan is derived from a tree with banana-shaped pods found only in China and Tibet and aptly called the "Chinese Happy Tree." Yet, this tree and many other potential sources of future treatments are endangered and could soon be gone forever.
Enhancing the quality of life
I have lived many years past my life expectancy. And countless others are alive and healthy today because of other medicines─from those that help lower cholesterol to those used to fight malaria─originally derived from natural sources.
Across the globe, however, many of our remaining wild areas that shelter plants and animals that could be the future source of numerous other new drugs are quickly disappearing. The razing of a forest in what seems like a remote corner of the world could have life-or-death consequences for people.