Within the boundaries of Israel you will find a range of climates that create a variety of habitats and allow for thousands of plants to thrive. There are many plants from the area that are already used in herbal remedies. Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, reported that an ongoing international survey has found dozens of new plants throughout Israel that may help in the treatment of several different types of diseases.
This research has been funded by the European Union, in which the BioXplore project sent a group hiking throughout Israel for the past year and a half. After collecting various plants, they then took their findings to a laboratory and tested the plants' abilities to aid in the treatment of different diseases.
The Israeli collection team is made up of 18 students from Hadassah College's Biotechnology Department. During each of their outings, they collected about 50 samples from different parts of the plants – including the roots, bulbs, leaves, stems, shoots, fruits and flowers. Here are some of the plants that scientists have found to present bacteria fighting qualities, so far:
- leaves and acorns of the Palestine Oak
- leaves and shoots of the Terebinth
- Golden Chamomile
- fruit from the Mediterranean Stinkbush
"There is already information on the medicinal properties of some plants, based on different species that grows overseas. We are adding more plants to the list," Dr. Mina Faran, president of the Israeli Herbalists Association, told Haaretz.
Additional studies are still underway, as scientists continue researching the ability for the different plants found to work as herbal remedies in the treatment of diabetes, AIDS and cancer. The Mediterranean's unique climate grows approximately 25,000 different plant species. With half of those being native to the area, BioXplore hopes to uncover many more new uses for these plants.
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