Threats From Nature – Plant Toxins
In 1940s, there was a crisis of sheep husbandry in Western Australia, a large number of healthy sheep infertility or childbirth. Everyone was puzzled, until a wise agricultural expert found the culprit of the incident – European alfalfa. This alfalfa can produce a powerful phytoestrogen called thorn formononetin, which is a natural defense against herbivores mechanism. There is no doubt that to the alfalfa, the sheep is a spoiler! After get used to the wet weather in Europe, introduced alfalfa had to contend with Australia’s arid climate. When alfalfa encountered bad weather of the year which insufficient or excessive of the rain and sunshine, they can only be achieved through limiting the number of the next generation of predators to protect themselves. They increase thorn whin pigment generated to make loss of fertility in parenting sheep, thereby reducing the offspring of sheep on their threats.
Next time when you looking for convenient methods of contraception, of course you don’t have to eat alfalfa. But when you take a variety of well-known “pill”, your behavior is actually no different with sheep. According to this plant reproductive control, genius chemist Carl Djerassi developed contraceptives. But he chose potatoes in stead of alfalfa – precisely is Mexican sweet potatoes. At first he was synthesized diosgenin which is a plant estrogen inside sweet potato, and then he synthesized the world’s first commercially available oral contraceptives in 1951.
In the human diet, sweet potatoes are not the only source of phytoestrogens. Beans also contains a phytoestrogen called genistein. Today, it is noteworthy that many beans are used in processed foods, including baby food on the market, because it is a cheap source of nutrition. A small number of scientists have started to worry about the long-term effect of soy estrogens in our diet.
Plant specializes in birth control, but at the same time they are also poisonous. Of course, most of the toxins they produce are not directed against people; they are not necessarily always against us. What plants really concerned about are those herbivores mainly relying on their. But that does not mean we can sit back and relax, because plant toxins will get us in trouble also. Most likely, you already have.
Have you eaten Tapioca Pudding? Tapioca comes from the cassava root. Cassava is an oblong, coconut-like jacket potatoes. In many tropical areas, cassava is the main food. However, it contains a deadly cyanide precursor. Of course, if you cooked or processed properly, it can be harmless, so don’t just go and bite your see the cassava root. There is no doubt that during the dry season the cyanide content of cassava root is surprisingly high, because they need to withstand drought, to ride out growing period.
Indian Wild Bean is a kind of plants grown in Asia and Africa, they can serve as another example. Its chemical weapons is a ” firepower ” neurotoxin that can cause paralysis. Neurotoxin’s influence is so strong, when other plants died because of drought or pests, wild beans can survive as usual. Because of this, in some parts of the world, poor farmers grow wild beans for a living in the years of famine. As you can imagine, wild beans planting area, the incidence of diseases caused by poisoning after the famine years will increase rapidly. In fact, it is not surprising that if you have to make a choice among them, people prefer to take the risk of wild beans to the poison, rather than starve.
Solanaceae contains a large class of different plants, some of which are edible, some poisonous. All the Solanaceae plants contain large amounts of alkaloids, this chemical is toxic to insects and other herbivores, but the effects on humans might be helpful, may also cause hallucinations.