Survivor Africa winner Ethan Zohn reported in December that his Hodgkin’s lymphoma was “vaporized” by radiation treatments, and its remission is in part due to a flower that grows in Africa and contributed to his medication.
Ethan writes in a CNN.com essay that “Chemotherapy drugs wracked my body for months. But as they worked I found some comfort when I learned that one of them was derived from an African flower, the rosy periwinkle. The drug born of this flower, vincristine, was part of the regimen that saved my life.”
He notes that “natural drugs and related products are used to treat 87 percent of all known diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and HIV.” However, those sources of medicine are at risk, he says: “The first antiviral medication approved for the treatment of HIV/AIDS came from a marine sponge, yet marine habitats around the world are threatened by pollution, overfishing and climate change.”
Because of that, Ethan argues for the passage of “a bipartisan bill in Congress, the Global Conservation Act of 2010, that seeks to address extinction and natural resource depletion worldwide by laying out a strategy for helping other countries protect millions of square miles of natural habitat. President Obama must put his weight behind this bill and the Congress must pass it soon.”