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AFRICA’S FLORA: CRADLE OF THE HOMO SAPIENS

There exist about 9 million km² of tropical rain forest on our planet. Of this, 1, 8 million km² (approx. 20%) are found in Africa. Almost 65% of the 500,000 known species of plants on the earth are found in tropical zones. Some tropical floras have been extensively studied; but African flora, cradle of the first man, has not been given the attention it deserves.

Cameroon is a perfect synthesis of diverse landscapes and climates of sub-tropical Africa. It is a harmonious union of dense forest, grassy savannah and vast plains, which end only at the brink of the Atlantic Ocean. All these dominated by a chain of mountains with its highest peak Mount Cameroon or the “Chariot of Gods” with an altitude of 4100m making it the highest mountain in West Africa.

Cameroon aptly called “Africa in Miniature” possesses a floral biodiversity and vegetation, which ranks amongst the richest and most diverse of sub-Saharan Africa. Its flora is composed of about 9000 species from about 800 plant families, which makes this country a ‘plant paradise’.

 

AFRICA: FUTURE CONTINENT OF NEW PLANT ASSETS

 

Certain tropical plants have noble names in the global pharmaceutical industry; for example Rauwolfia Serpentina& R. Vomitaria, Vinca Minor& Voacanga Africana, Physostigma Venenosum, Catharantus Roseus/Vinca Rosea, Pausinystalia Yohimbe, Strophantus Gratus, Pygeum Africanum/Prunus Africana etc which have produced powerful chemical products like Reserpine, Ajmaline Ajmalicine, Eserine (physostigmine), Vincristine, Vincaleucoblastine, Vincamine, Vinpocetine, Vinburine, Yohimbine, Ouabaine. Many pharmaceutical products contain these substances or their derivatives.

To date, our world is afflicted more and more by pandemics and diseases: viral diseases - AIDS, Ebola, Avian Flu, Mad Cow Disease; metabolic and degenerative illnesses – Parkinson’s disease Alzheimer’s Syndrome; different types of cancer and addictions.

It is necessary and opportune to recall the famous Rule of Convergence used in Ethno pharmacology which states “ Different human groups, living far from each other and having no means of communication between them, tend to discover and use the same raw materials or different products possessing the same active components to treat the same ailments”

In view of this “pathological crusade” against man, why shouldn’t our phyto-chemotherapeutic salvation be found in AFRICA’s FLORA?

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