New Medical Discoveries from the Plant World

Rainforest Australia

Rainforest Vine from the Congo may be able to Treat Pancreatic Cancer

Science Daily reported on a new compound found in a Congolese vine that shows potential to treat pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly and aggressive types of cancer with a 5-year survival rate of less than 5%.  Pancreatic cancer thrives because of what is termed “austerity” that comes from something called Akt/mTOR.

Antiausterity Properties

However, researchers found a new alkaloid compound that they named Compound 4, which they found in a vine liana Ancistrocladus likoko that grows in the rain forests of the Congo that was found to have “antiausterity” properties. This compound 4 could possibly be used in treating aggressive forms of cancer like pancreatic cancer. The plant also showed the ability to inhibit cell migration, which could possibly be used to stop a tumor from spreading by metastasis to form new tumors throughout the body. This research was published October 10, 2018, in the Journal of Natural Products.

Rainforest Plant may be able to Treat Epilepsy and other Diseases

According to Science Daily, Another rain forest plant found in Nigeria and Ghana has been found by researchers from the University of California at Irvine to have properties that could lead to better drugs for treating epilepsy and other diseases. The plant is the Mallotus opppositifolius that has been popular in African folk medicine for hundreds of years for treating anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes, headaches, pain, parasitic eye infections, kidney infections, and paralysis. The results of their research were published Nov. 14, 2018 in Science Advances.

Asian Herbal Trio may be able to Treat Parkinson’s Disease

An article in Parkinson’s News Today from October 31, 2018 reports that a clinical trial is in progress at the Health Partners Institute to test a triple herbal Remedy on humans with early Parkinson’s to see if it will keep the disease from its downward deteriorating progression. The triple herbal extract called DA-9805 consists of dried leaves from three Asian herbs, that are widely used in traditional Asian medicine: Moutan cortex, Angelica Dahurica root, and Bupleurum root. The compound containing the herbal trio has been developed by a South Korean company called Dong-A ST.

This herbal trio has been shown to be neuroprotective in experimental mouse models of Parkinson’s disease. In fact, the herbs were able to stop dopamine reduction in the brain.

Gardening Therapy and Gardening Clubs

Research has shown that people fare better and heal faster when they are close to nature and spend time in gardens. The Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York has a seasonal gardening club which brings a lot of joy to the residents there. To learn more about gardening therapy and the gardening club at Van Duyn, see our blog post from March 7, 2018.


This shows how important it is to save wild plants from extinction because one never knows what healing properties may be lost in every plant that becomes lost to us forever. The rain forests are especially in danger and also many plants get over picked in the wild. There have been many blessings from the plant world that have led to medical breakthroughs and hopefully only good will come out of all this research.

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