From: Paul Geary, ENN
Published October 26, 2005 12:00 AM

EarthNews Radio: Natural Medicines

Aspirin may not look like a flower, but it's one of the many medicines that start out as something found in nature. Studying plants and animals is one of the ways scientist find new medicines for humans.


Jerry Kay spoke to Jack Dumbacher, the Chair of the Department of Birds and Mammals at the California Academy of Sciences:



Natural Medicines



Dumbacher says that many of the medicines we use come from a natural source: Aspirin, or salicylic acid, is found in willow plants, and ancient people chewed on willow leaves when they got a headache. When we find something that appears to be bioactive in nature, we study it for human use. But many of those substances benefit the animals that are carrying them around as well.


To learn more about the California Academy of Sciences, visit its website: www.calacademy.org. Of course, check back to ENN's EarthNews Radio section often to hear the latest interviews from Jerry Kay, or to catch up on broadcasts you may have missed.


EarthNews Radio is available as a podcast now as well so you can download the broadcast to your iPod or MP3 player. Here is the link: http://www.enn.com/news/podcast/earthnews.xml. Sky Tour is still available as well; it's your opportunity to view the fall night sky with a personal guided tour from Morrison Planetarium's Bing Quock. That feed can be found here: http://www.enn.com/news/podcast/ENNskytour.xml.


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