Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Plants & Their Amazing Uses!

Like me, I bet you mainly grow plants in your garden to look pretty or to taste yummy. But did you know plants can have lots of other uses? Read on to find out just what else they can be used for... 
Plants are used for a lot more than just food or being pretty
Medicines
Way, way, way back in time (before even Mummy and Daddy were born) plants were the only medicines we had.  Clever medicine men and women would gather them to make potions to cure everything from a cold to a sore tummy. 800 years ago there was terrible disease called the Black Death.  Hedges were the chemists of the time.  People made little posies from the berries and flowers that could be gathered from them and waved them in front of their faces as they thought that would stop them catching the disease. Even though we now know that waving flowers in our faces can't stop a cold, 1 in 10 of all the really, really important, essential drugs that we use all the time come from plants.

Dr Lulu looking after her poorly Daddy. 
Here are just a few examples of medicines made from plants:
  • Caffeine comes from the coffee plant and stops big people from falling asleep
  • Cocaine from the cocoa plant stops people feeling pain
  • The opium poppy contains other medicines to stop pain called morphine and codeine
  • Atropine (from plants such as deadly nightshade) helps heart conditions
  • Foxgloves contain digitoxin which can help an irregular heart beat
  • Quinine (from the fever tree) can help treat malaria

Clothing
A lot of the materials we use to make our clothes come from plants. My favourite cotton dresses come from the cotton plant. It would be a wonderful field to look at if it had pretty pinafores growing in it. Luckily my clever Granny Biscuits can use the cotton fabric and make them into dresses for me! Look out for other natural fibres in your clothing such as hemp or flax. I have even seen bamboo t-shirts!

I can even climb trees in my pretty
Granny Biscuits dresses made from plants!

Fuel
While most of our vehicles run on petrol & diesel, there are alternative fuels out there. Bio-fuels come from crops including corn and soybeans. Bio-fuels are also attractive as they are renewable and have lower emissions. Let's hope governments make wise choices to support these types of fuels going forward and support the research required to make them cheaper and more widely available. 

I am going to ask my Grandpa to run his tractor on bio-fuels

Shelter
Now, we all know the tale of the Three Little Pigs so we know that choosing a house made of sticks or straw isn't the best option. However, you would be hard pushed to find a house that doesn't use wood anywhere in its construction so we should appreciate our wonderful trees a whole lot more. 

My own house is made from wood (and has cotton curtains!)

So, next time you are out tending to your plants, say thanks to them for being such wonderful things which we simply couldn't live without. 

Hugs & kisses,

Lulu xx