Plants are very useful for human beings in many ways. Plants provide us our basic need such as food and oxygen.
We get cereals, legumes, vegetables, fruits, fibres, wood, oil, medicines and other plant products from plants.
The cereals are the most important sources of plant food for man. They form the most important group in the food plants of India. There are six true cereals rice, wheat, maize, barley, oat and rye. They contain a high percentage of carbohydrates and small amount of proteins and vitamins.
The legumes or pulses are next in importance to cereals as source of food for us. Pulses contain more protein than any other vegetable products. Gram, black gram, green gram, pea, pigeon pea lentil are important pulses.
Vegetables and fruits:
From vegetables we get high amount of carbohydrates, vegetables also contain mineral salts and vitamins. Fruits provide us minerals and different vitamins. Fruits give us delicious taste and flavour. Different types of pickles, squash, jams and jellies are prepared from fruits. Some common fruits which are eaten in India are mango, orange, banana, guava, papaya, pineapple, plum and apple.
Gum, Resins and Rubber:
We get gum from the plants, gums are utilized as adhesives, printing, paint and candy industries. Resins are mostly found in the stems of trees they are yellowish solids, insoluble in water. Resins are used in varnishes. We get rubber from the latex of various plants. Rubber products are tyres, tubes, wires, cable insulations and footwear.
Wood and Cork:
We get wood from plants for our furniture, interior decoration and building materials. Different type of tress which give us good quality of wood are, teak, sal, pine, and shisham. We get cork from the cork and oak. Cork consists of the outer bark of the trees. It is used in making stoppers, hats, helmets, penholders, fishing rods, life jackets, base balls and so many others materials.
We get so many medicines from the plants, the branch of medical science, which deals with the drug plants, is known as Pharmacognosy. Different medicines are prepared from onion, garlic, ginger and cinchona, are given in various disorders such as piles, cough, fever, asthma, lung’s diseases, diarrhea and malaria.
Kesar is given in asthma, it decreases pain and restlessness and used as nerve sedative. Neem leaves are useful in jaundice and skin diseases, these are insecticidal. We get vitamin C from Amla and Amla is used as laxative. Eucalyptus oil is used in the treatment of asthma and bronchitis.