“To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety.”
The mechanism God designed to protect the fruit of the pawpaw tree from being eaten before its seeds are ripe may provide powerful, new anti-cancer drugs and a powerful, safe insecticide. The pawpaw tree, with its custard-like fruit, is common all over the eastern United States.
The twigs of the pawpaw contain powerful biological chemicals that make them toxic to insects. The pawpaw fruit is nearly as toxic as the twigs until it ripens. This discourages animals from eating the fruit until it is ripe and the seeds are ready to be spread. Scientists at Purdue University developed a simple and inexpensive test to see if natural substances are biologically active. If a plant extract is active, it means that it could have some use as a medicine.
As a result of these successful tests, scientists found at least seven chemicals that may prove useful against cancer. The most powerful is a million times more effective against cancer than the leading anti-cancer drug in use today. In addition, they discovered a powerful, natural insecticide that is effective against a wide range of plant pests.
God’s extraordinary care for the lowly pawpaw also appears to provide powerful help for some of man’s ills. God often chooses to work through the lowly things of this world to bring blessings to us. Nothing or no one is unimportant to His plans if they will only allow Him to use them.
Notes: “Look What’s Hidden in the Pawpaw.” Science News, Feb. 29, 1992, p. 143.
“Pawpaw Tree Yields New Cancer Drug, Pesticide.” Sacramento Union, Feb. 8, 1992.
Photo: The largest fruit native to the US comes from the pawpaw tree.
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