That trees are beneficial for our well being is no secret but do you really have an idea of how much we depend on them almost every day? Almost unconsciously trees have become a huge part of our lives. Life as we know would cease to exist without trees. Trees are always surrounding us- nature has provided us with trees in abundance. Forest covers still occupy a large portion of the earth’s surface. Since centuries people have found out different ways to use trees for their benefit. Thousands of years ago, the main purpose of trees was to provide firewood. But gradually, research has led us to understand that almost every part of a tree can be put to good use.
Let us attempt to understand how a tree really helps us. Here are a few valuable uses of trees.
- Firewood- since many ages, people have started gathering firewood. Firewood is an unrefined renewable resource used as fuel.
- Lumber- timbers or lumbers are actually logs or pieces of wood that are used for various purposes- to make homes, frames, furniture, boats and many other useful things. The lumbering industry is a major industry in many countries like USA. A country’s economy depends on this industry to a large extent.
COSMETIC AND BEAUTY INDUSTRY
The cosmetic industry has really bloomed in recent years and much of that credit belongs to rare species of plants are trees that are used in this business. Most of the products that you use on your skin and hair everyday have at least a few ingredients derived from plants. Plants like Aloe Vera and flax are used for their antibacterial properties. Turmeric, argan oil, coffee berry, resveratrol are some items that are widely used in skin care products. Many essential oils contained in the beauty products also have their source in herbs and flowers. Every part of a plant from root to flowers has been incorporated in the beauty business. Nowadays, people are shifting to herbal products that don’t harm or damage the skin. This has led to the sudden boom of natural beauty products and cosmetics.
USES IN MEDICINE
Plants have always been an important part of the medicine industry. The ancient medicine systems including Chinese medicine and ayurveda depend on plants for various ingredients which are not found elsewhere. Herbal medicine is still very much in vogue, especially in countries like India and China. Many people believe that plants hold the cure to every disease on the planet. Let us look at some plants that have made their presence felt in herbal medicine-
- Clove is an ancient remedy for toothache.
- Garlic has been known to treat cardiovascular ailments.
- Hawthorn is used to cure heart diseases.
- Liquorice prevents viral infections.
- Poppy has been used for many centuries as a pain killer. It is a source of morphine.
- People with Alzheimer’s disease have been known to benefit from use of sage.
- Konjac reduces cholesterol and constipation.
- Arnica is a cure for osteoarthritis.
Even in conventional allopathic medicine, traces of plant extracts can be seen.
- EDIBLE ITEMS OBTAINED FROM TREES
A majority of the human and animal population depend on fruits and vegetables as their only source of food. Without trees, the entire ecosystem would come crashing down.
- HOUSEHOLD ITEMS
If you thought the uses of trees were over then think again. Many household products that we use every day come from trees. Sometimes the sap from trees is used to make glue. Most of our furniture comes from trees. Apart from that, plant derivatives can be found in things like crayon, candles, paint and toothpaste. Most importantly, trees provide us with paper. Books, copies, newspapers, wrapping papers are all obtained from trees. Wood pulp is used to make everything from newspaper to toilet paper, paper tissues to milk cartons.
- THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS
While discussing the material uses of different parts of trees, we cannot overlook its immense contribution to the environment. Trees are our life givers.
- First, trees supply us with oxygen which we need to breathe. No life form can exist without oxygen. Through a process of photosynthesis every tree on the planet gives out oxygen and takes in carbon dioxide.
- Secondly, forests provide shelter to animals. Forests are the natural habitat of wild animals.
- Thirdly, trees also modify climate.
- Fourthly, trees strengthen the soil and prevent landslides.
- Fifthly, it increases the natural beauty of a place, thereby increasing tourism. Also, lumbering industry employs huge number of workers thereby providing economic assistance to a large number of populations.
With so many uses of trees, it is a wonder how we take them so much for granted. Without trees, life would not be possible. It is our duty to plant trees and stop their felling. Sustainable use of trees for industrial and household purposes should be encouraged. The illegal activities of many cosmetic companies to devour rare and precious plants should be stopped immediately. There is no harm in using trees for our benefit. Just remember to give back whatever you have taken. Plant trees and save your planet.