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Stressed Plants Tell Us About It

Ezekiel 47:12b: "...and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine."

When they have a headache or, perhaps, a toothache, many people take an aspirin. Now it turns out that many plants do about the same thing when they are under stress.

The plants that do so, however, make their own form of aspirin called methyl salicylate. This phenomenon has been observed in the laboratory, but never in nature until now. Researchers studying air pollution set up their instruments near a California walnut grove. They wanted to see what gases the plants might be emitting. Methyl salicilate was among the gases they detected. Researchers believe that the gas might have some immune function for the plants. It might also warn surrounding plants of a threat. This finding may help farmers and others detect when plants are being stressed by lack of water, insects or disease. Until this finding, those caring for plants could only tell when a plant was stressed once the plant began to show visible signs of stress. With this information, those who tend plants will be able to apply pesticides, for example, in a much more timely manner.

God gave us a perfect world where there was no need for medicine. But He knew we would sin and bring death and sickness upon the creation, so, being a loving God, He also gave us medicines to discover to ease our suffering.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the gift of medicine. Prosper all good knowledge that brings healing in our midst. Amen.

Notes: Yahoo! News, 9-18-08, Randolf E. Schmid, AP Science Writer, "Stressed plants produce aspirin-like chemical."

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