Sunday, January 13, 2008
The rainforest contains more than half of Earth's plant and animal species, even though rain forests cover only about 6% of the earth's surface. The average humidity in the rainforest is high, ranging from 77% to 88%. The average temperature is at least 75 to 86 degrees.
Many of the plants and foods in your home originated in the rainforests. Common house plants, such as bromeliads, African violets, periwinkle and the Christmas cactus, began in the rain forest.
About one-fourth of all the medicines we use come from rainforest plants. Curare, from a tropical vine, is used as an anesthetic and to relax muscles for surgery. Quinine, from the cinchona tree, is used to treat malaria. The rosy periwinkle contains an anti-leukemia drug; a person with lymphocytic leukemia has a 99% chance that the disease will go into remission because of the rosy periwinkle. More than 1,400 varieties of tropical plants are thought to be potential cures for cancer.