We are continuously trying to find new drugs to combat diseases that target our society today, particularly cancers and AIDS. Research is carried out in labs, trying to create new drugs that somehow heal the sick.

Often the science behind these drugs is not fully understood but the results are conclusive – the drugs work!



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Over the years inspiration for new drugs has increasingly been found in plants (and various creatures) from all over the world, mainly in rainforests where the abundance of different plant species is particularly high.

Today there are more than 120 chemical substances derived from plants that are considered to be important drugs.


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Plants have been collected from Madagascar (one of the most rapidly dissappearing rainforest regions in the world), Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Peru, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Thailand,Vietnam and many more.

This website describes the history and chemistry of just a few of these world renowned drugs.


Drug Initial source Where
Quinine Cinchona Tree Peruvian Andes
Taxol Pacific Yew Tree North America
Ayahuasca Ayahuasca Vine Amazonia
Epibatidine Tree Frogs Ecuador
Vinblastine/Vincristine Rose Periwinkle Madagascar



Pictures: http://www.junglemd.com/



Created by Josie Jones (jj9059@bris.ac.uk)

School of Chemistry, University of Bristol.