Plants are the source of life. A single tree can accommodate 1000s of different life forms on its surface. On the micro-level, every plant or tree is a complete biosphere for many creatures. A small insect to a big elephant and us humans, the plant is important for all. Therefore we will discuss the Beneficial Application of Plants in Human Society.
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What are the main uses of plants?
Plants provide us food, shelter, clothes, energy, medicines, and many other life-supporting products. Rubber and paper are two other very important plant-based products. Simply we can say that everything we need is directly or indirectly dependent on plants.
Each and every food that we eat is directly dependent on plants. Even the protein we get from animals is also dependent on plant food sources. The cloth we wear, the home we live, the medicine we use are all directly or indirectly obtained from plant sources.
What is the importance of plants?
Material use of plants is very crucial for the sustenance of human life. It is true that plants provide us food, clothes, and shelters. But there exist many other important factors that we usually forget about plants.
Plants are the source of life not only for food but also for the survival of life on earth. Oxygen is something that we humans need the most and it is directly dependent on plants. Maximum amount of oxygen on earth is obtained from green algae or cyanobacteria.
This oxygen was the base for all know life forms. Even we humans can not survive without it. The origin of animal life forms is dependent on the availability of Oxygen. Plants are the only natural source of Oxygen on earth. They might be unicellular or as big as a giant tree. Despite their differences, they all contribute to the survival of life on earth.
10 Beneficial Application of Plants in Human Society
- Firewood and energy
- Air Purification, Reduce pollution
- Temperature Regulation
- Prevent Soil erosion and degradation, Manure production
- Underground Water Retention, Natural water harvesting
These are 12 specific and very important application of plants beneficial to human society. Now we will discuss each one in detail. Keep reading…
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Plants are the first source of food in nature. Whatever we eat or drink is somehow related to plant kingdom. Food obtained from plants is so diverse that we can’t classify it in one single group. For general understanding, I have divided the foods from plants into 4 broad groups.
- Direct Foods: This group includes all the fruits and vegetables that we eat directly or after cooking. Mango, Guava, Pumpkin, Gourds, Melons, Okra, Eggplant, and on and on, so much.
- Edible Oils: Each of the oil we use in cooking is obtained from plant sources. Palm oil, olive oil, mustard oil, Rice Bran Oil, Canola oil, & castor oil is obtained from plants.
- Indirect Foods: This group contains processed food obtained from plants or plant-based products. These types of food products are not readily available in nature. Sugar, Chocolate, Jams, Juices, and many more similar food products are derived from plant sources.
- Food flavorings: Those food products that we usually don’t eat directly are listed in this group. Instead, such products are either used for flavor or taste building. These plant-based products are also used for adding aroma to your food items. Spices like chilly, black pepper, cardamom, and even vanilla are listed in this group. Herbs like mint, basil, and fennel can also be listed in this group. All of these are of direct plant origin.
Other than these 4 groups there is a 5th food group that depends on the plant source. This group includes animal-based food products like milk, cheese, curd, and meat. All these seem independent from plants. But remember animals can’t survive without food or fodder obtained from plants. So these types of food are also indirectly dependent on plants.
Trees and plants are our primitive shelters. In ancient times our forefathers have lived in caves and jungles. They lived on grass beds under the shed of trees. They feed on fruits and meats.
The history of human origin revolves around forest and water sources. This was the ideal support system for humans at that time. But Do we need plants for shelters even today? Think again every door, window, or furniture you have it obtained from plants. This is the ultimate truth of human society.
We use more wood in our shelters or homes today than our ancestors some 100,000 years ago. The only difference is that now we use wood in a very organized manner especially in our homes.
Source of Medicine
Ayurveda is the ancient Science of Medicine dependent entirely on the plant sources. Ancient researchers from India somewhere 5000-10000 years ago has recorded the use of several plants for medicinal purposes. Today modern science has confirmed many of these record to be true and valid to some point.
Even in modern medical science, many medicines are obtained from plants or plant-based products. Tulsi, Neem, Giloy, Aswagandha, and many other medicinal plants are well now worldwide.
Source of Cloths
Some of you may say that our fabrics contain most of the synthetic fibers today. So how can we depend on plants for cloths? There is a simple and straight answer to your query. Every fiber whether natural or synthetic depends on plants for raw material. Coton is still the most used natural fiber in the textile industry.
Firewood as a source of energy
This is a constantly reducing use of wood. Still wood is a major source of cooking fuel in developing countries. If you love cooking and barbeque then you might have used some as fuel.
Firewood is a major source of fuel for rural areas. It was the only source of fuel until early 19th century. Wood is also used as fuel in some commercial industrial works.
Paper and Rubber
Paper and Rubber ar two very important inventions of human history. Even the history we know is dependent on the invention cum development of paper from bamboo leaves in Ancient China and India. Modern papers are also obtained from trees so don’t waste even a bit of it. Remember the toilet paper you use daily is also a plant-based product.
Rubber on the other hand has changed the way of the transport system. From bumpy hardwood cartwheels to modern soft and adaptable tires. All these are only possible due to the invention of natural rubber. Natural rubber is still extensively used in the latex industry.
Source of Perfumes
In ancient times, herbs and spices were the main sources of perfumes and aroma. But there was a problem- Spices have a strong smell. So to get some sweet, mild, and more friendly scent. People have started extracting concentrated oil to produce desired notes of perfume. Perfume is the most beneficial application of plants.
Rose, sandal, Jasmin, and cardamom oils are still very popular in the Perfume industry.
Air Purification and Pollution Control
Plants have the best natural mechanism to control air pollution. It is the basic function of any plant. Remember Bigger the plant ore air it can filter every day.
Plants are also responsible for maintaining the balance between Oxygen and carbon in nature. We think oxygen is the most important gas but trust me carbon dioxide is even more important. It is the soul of life. Plants need it for their survival. We need plats for our survival. ultimately we are dependent on the carbon cycle.
We exhale carbon dioxide and inhale oxygen whereas plants inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. Humans and plants have a very important symbiotic relationship with each other.
Forests are the air conditioners of the world. It is a true assumption as the heat in the air is greatly balanced by moisture present in plants. The Thermal exchange is such a large scale regulates the temperature and climatic condition of the globe.
This can be easily proved in hot summer days. Just walk around in the lawn for a few minutes. Then move under the shade of any tree. You will notice a sudden significant change in temperature. This is the Thermal regulation done by plants. This can be one valid reason why plants are soothing to our eyes and minds.
Soil Protection and Water retention
On a rainy day, you may have seen soil being washed off by running water. This phenomenon is known as soil erosion. On small scale, it doesn’t seem harmful or anything to worry about.
But if you observe this on large global scale then you will understand the threat to life. All the food crops and plants get support and nutrition from this topsoil. If the soil washed off completely then no plant can survive on it. So to protect erosion we must have to plant more trees.
The dense fibrous roots of plants hold the soil firmly and prevent erosion due to running water.
One other benefit of the plant is that it can help in maintaining the fertility of the soil. The dead and decaying leaves and branches add manure and organic fertilizers to the topsoil. It is also useful in storing moisture for the plants and other creatures.
The turgor pressure of the plants helps in increasing the groundwater level. The shortage of underground water is one of the major crises in many developing and developed countries.
We should or I request, we must plant more trees to keep us and our plant healthy and green. Planting more trees is the only method to overcome Global warming. You should read: Can You use Cactus or Succulent soil for other plants?
The benefits of plants are literally uncountable. You can imagine how important a plant can be. I just tried to show you a glimpse of the truth. There is so much to learn and explore. Interested in learning more about plants and saving the earth? Then keep reading and keep gardening. Live green!
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