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Medicinal Plant Species Threatened with Extinction

Medicinal plants have been used in human cultures for millennia. Today, they are a mainstay of many traditional healing cultures, and are also an important source of medicinal compounds produced or replicated by modern pharmacological methods. For instance, at least 74 percent of the 150 most used prescription drugs in the United States are based on plants, and about 70 percent of the new drugs introduced in the United States in the last 25 years are based on natural sources, including plants, bacteria, and vertebrate species. Most medicinal species are harvested from wild plant populations, and these species are increasingly at risk of extinction from a variety of causes, including overharvesting and habitat loss. Estimates of the extent of the threat vary, but the

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