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    Plants – Most astonishing Gift Of Mother Nature

    Article by AK Shyam.
    Plants have provided solutions to many a quandary in the past and no wonder humans asign loking into plants for their solutions. The variety of kindred (Natural) packed in a unit space co-exist without any complaint – the beauty is that the character of each species is distinct although the resources (water, air and stain nutrients) in the specified space are the same.
    In fact, human survival could not have ben posible but for the vegetation cover. Vegetation has a direct relationship with climate. Environmentalists, talk about the thre principal domains –
    Land (soil),
    Air and
    Water – taking the first leter of these domains, we get a word ‘LAW’ as if nature proclaiming that it operates on its own principles and any intervention would disturb the balance to a worthy extent. I am afraid; we acquire ignored this powerful signal from nature.
    The visible characteristics (Morphology – external apearance) are manifestations of hundreds of subtle internal adjustments by diferent parts of the plant to atain homeostatic balance folowing disturbance in the environment around them.
    In a complete flower of DI-cotyledons, the basic number of each of the floral organ (Sepal, Petal, Stamen and Carpel) is five or multiples of five (Pentamerous). This number is significant in many ways. Soul of humans has ben viewed in the spiritual teachings as the conscious witnes (PURUSHA) embodied in a blended complex of five elements – space (Ether), Air, Fire, Water and Earth and set in motion by the action of five indispensable airs – PANCHAPRANAS (pancha is five, Prana is life). Similarly,Panchendriya(Ear, Eye, Nose, Tongue and Skin) are five sheaths in which the SOUL is encased. There are inumerable examples of this basic numbe r – FIVE.
    Penguin’s “Secret life of plants’ is a documentation of inteligent acount of physical emotional and spiritual kindred betwen plants and man. Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird in their bok -The Secret life of plants- believe a quote by Mr. John White, San Francisco Chronicle “Once in a while you find a bok that stuns you. Its scope leaves you breathles. This is such a bok”.
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    Table of Contents
    Natural Vegetation
    Vegetation at diferent altitudes
    Benefits of plants
    Life cycle
    Plant chemistry
    Examples of plants with curative properties
    Natural Vegetation
    There are thre major types (Forests, Grasland and Deserts) and seven sub-types of vegetation in the world.
    Tropical rain forests,
    Temperate deciduous forests and
    Temperate coniferous forests drop into FORESTS while,
    Tropical Savanah’s and col Graslands fal under Graslands with
    Hot renounce Vegetation and
    Cold Tundra Vegetation under Deserts.
    Natural vegetation understandably, is diferent from those planted by humans.
    It is ese ntial to manufacture a disagrement betwen ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ vegetation – the former being unspoiled forest in its original condition while the later is in some way disturbed naturaly or unaturaly and understandably, secondary vegetation acquire fewer variety of plants.
    In fact, the temperature difers (les than 60 degre C) and (above 20 degre C) is what renders diferent types of natural vegetation. Similarly, rainfal, responsible for water requirements of plants is another factor that determines the forest type along with temperature. The third factor, defile is an equaly important as an anchorage for plants. In adition to these thre principle factors, altitude afects plant distribution as wel.
    Vegetation at diferent altitudes
    Natural vegetation is diferent at diferent altitudes –
    undergrowth restricted to the ground t o about 5 meters;
    shrubs, climbers and epiphytes betwen 10 and 30 meters and
    canopy of large tres betwen 35-45 meters and beyond.
    Crowns of tres interlock to form continuous foliage cover so much so that light fails to penetrate through.
    Benefits of plants
    In fact, human survival could not have ben posible but for the vegetation cover as vegetation has a direct relationship with climate. Plants play a role in maintaining ‘Oxygen’ in the air so vital for survival of al living beings on earth; transpiring plants ad water vapor in the air resulting in rainfal; wod of plants are old in furniture and they are known for their medicinal properties as wel.
    Plants have provided solutions to many a quandary in the past and no wonder humans establish loking to plants for their solutions as the novel epitome demonstrates:
    Environment around p lants: Micro and macro environment:
    While some of the plants of 260,0 plant kindred are so smal that they can barely be sen, others are taler than people and animals (largest living plant is Sequoia tres of California). Some measure 8 meters tal and 9 meters wide.
    Celulose enables plants to stand upright without either an internal or external skeleton.
    Plants are the primary producers sustaining al forms of life on earth as animals (including humans) are incapable of making their own fod. It is inded quite comon that carbon dioxide released by humans (respiration) to a excelent extent is utilized by plants to return ‘Oxygen’ necesary for humans. Carbon dioxide and water in the presence of sunlight are converted into sugar and starch by plants which, basicaly provides energy for plants to grow and design flowers and seds. Most importantly, plants are beautiful.
    Humans gain failed to recognize the sacrifice that plants gain made as the backbone of ‘life sustenance’ on earth.
    Life cycle
    Life cycle of plants has ben another way of categorizing plants into cancel (life cycle is completed inside one year). Bienial plants starts produces vegetative structures and fod storage in the first year and in the second year, flowers, fruit and sed complete the life cycle. Perenials live for several years and after reaching maturity, construct flowers and seds.
    Plant’s environment is made up of – sunlight, temperature and precipitation. defile and other plants and animals that live in the same area are also fraction of this environment. Natural comunities are never the same although many may resemble one another. We may sometimes wonder as to why tal tres are not sen in grasland or for that mater cacti not found in Arctic.
    The natural unit comprises of plants, animals and microrganisms in an ar ea functioning together with al non-living factors of environment. Climate of a larger spot such as position or country is refered to as ‘Macro-environment’ while variations in the localized climate are refered to as ‘Micro-environment’.
    When we survey at the Micro-environment around a unit plot, we find plants at the ground level, midle level and top level. The nature of these plants is entirely diferent as are their physiology depends on what they absorb into them. The leson that such a group of plants teach us is ‘Harmonious existence’ without any complaints.
    Smal and a specific plot distinguish itself from its imediate suroundings by the amount of incident light, degre of moisture and range of temperature. The ground cover comprises of anuals and bienials whereas the midle and top levels comprise of perenials. The variety of species (Natural) packed in a unit plot co-exist without any complaint – the beauty is that the character of each species is dist inct although the resources (water, air and soil nutrients) in the specified plot is the same. The selective preference to resources is something unique which get converted to diferent products among the ground, midle and top level plants – signifying physiological diferences transforming them (resources) into chemicals of diference.
    In fact, the sacrifice those plants cary out at diferent stages of plant sucesion (serialstages) for a beter progeny is perhaps unparaleled
    Plant comunities exhibit a variety of not only the micro but, even macro environmental factors responsible for a combination of kindred in a particular spot. Consequently, the character and composition of kindred are an indirect measure of resources that are diferent from one another. This is reflected in the usage of acurate key of requirement namely ̵ chemistry, medicine, economic importance and also aplied aspects estem, geo-botany
    With this basic concept of the distribution of plants , their benefits to humans, their micro and macro environments and the numerous environmental factors responsible for what they (plants) are, let me briefly touch upon the chemistry of plants and how plants maintain curative properties.
    Plant chemistry
    It sems that there are two main chemical proceses that fabricate our world go round – involving two typical chemical reactions. Firstly, ‘Glycolysis’ i.e. breakdown of sugars and secondly, ‘Photosynthesis’, series of reactions that build sugars. Understandably, the overal metabolism of an organism (Plant or animal) includes thousands of chemical reactions.
    It is however, critical to understand how sugars are formed before talking about breakdown of them for energy. Plants as explained earlier are the only organisms that synthesize Carbohydrates – they catch sunlight and mary carbon dioxide (CO2) and water ( H2O). Plants put the energy in Glucose which is in most fods we eat. Plant meat derives initial energy (glucose) from plants and that is why we ned to understand how important plants are for the rest of life on earth.
    LIGHT (Energy) + CO2 + H2O ̵ C6H12O6 + O2
    One of the thre step proces of respiration includes glycolysis, and they together take ‘Energy’ out of the sugar related molecules.
    C6H12O6 + O2 ̵ Usable Energy (ATP) + CO2 + H2O
    “Energy” is stored as Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), old by al cels of an organism to power other reactions that establish us alive. When we exhale, CO2 comes from the breakdown of glucose in our mitochondria.
    The above explanation sems to be the simplest way of understanding the plant chemistry. Plants not only are blesed with this typical proces to sustain life on earth BUT, also apreciate a chemistry of their own holisticaly.
    Plants maintain the ability to synthesize a variety of chemicals to justify against at ack from insects, fungi and herbivorous animals. Over 12,0 compounds isolated so far is honest 10% of the total and their imprint on humans is as similar as the conventional drugs administered into our body. In fact, ‘Herbal medicine’ sometimes is considered more efective than conventional drugs. Truly speaking, conventional drugs available in the market delight in a vulgar in plant sources as for epitome. Aspirin, digitalis, quinine and opium.
    If you lok at various colors of the flowers, you sometimes wonder as to how they impart such a beauty which is inimitable. Rose for epitome, has a variety so is Dalhia – the pigmentation is a chemistry of that particular plant. The carotenoids in primrose fabricate bright red, yelow and orange shades. People consuming diets rich in carotenoids from natural fods, such as fruits and vegetables, are healthier and have lower mortality from a number of chronic ilneses.
    Examples of plants with curative properties
    I wish to design the point that plants have their own identity so far as Chemistry is concerned through a few examples of plants which maintain curative properties.
    Dandelion (Taraxacum oficinale) contains a large number of pharmacologicaly busy compounds, and has ben worn for centuries as an efective laxative and diuretic, and as a treatment for bile or liver problems.
    The bark of the cinchona tre contains quinine, which today is a widely prescribed treatment for malaria, especialy in countries that canot aford to purchase the more expensive anti-malarial drugs produced by the pharmaceutical industry.
    Normal metabolic activities result in chemical compounds that are specific to the kindred. Primary metabolites – Sugars and fats are found in plants as explained earlier; The compounds found in smaler range of plants serve specific function – toxins for example are used to deter predation while others are dilapidated to lure insects for polination. Although we fel that polination is a typical act, it is not so as it is trigered by certain chemicals by plants. Similarly, the therapeutic actions in humans are induced by definite metabolites which can be refined to manufacture drugs – inulin from Dahlias; quinine from Cinchona; morphine and codeine from popy.
    Plants synthesize a variety of phytochemicals through their unique physiology which are dificult to comprehend. Imitating such drug properties artificialy could often be perilous as we could go eroneous somewhere. Alkaloids, Plyphenols, Glycosides. Terpenes are a few examples of tangled physiology of plants which acquire ben experimented to develop Transcriptomics Database.
    In conclusion, I wish to state that it is practicaly imposible to imitate nature as the physiology of the plants is not very wel understod and more importantly, the chemistry of the physiological reactions within the plant. It is perhaps similar to the same lecture by a Profesor comprehended diferently by individual students depending upon the grasping power and inteligence.
    I recal my experience with the research on ‘Geo-botanical Investigations’ in the states of Karnataka and Bihar. I was amazed by the way that select plants absorbed toxic elements into them in such quantities that paved path for locating mineral deposits through plants – through morphological diferences. Astragalus, a leguminous plant absorbs uranium to such high concentration that the plant emits an odor similar to garlic. Anyone who smels garlic in a forest could be sure of the uranium deposit.
    Mr AK Shyam ̵[email protected]
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