Other uses

Latex is a sticky defensive secretion that protects plants against herbivores. Many trees produce it when injured but the main source of the latex used to make natural rubber is the Para rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). Originally used to create bouncy balls and for the waterproofing of cloth, natural rubber is now mainly used in tyres for which synthetic materials have proved less durable.[126] The latex exuded by the balata tree (Manilkara bidentata) is used to make golf balls and is similar to gutta-percha, made from the latex of the "getah perca" tree Palaquium. This is also used as an insulator, particularly of undersea cables, and in dentistry, walking sticks and gun butts. It has now largely been replaced by synthetic materials.[127] Resin is another plant exudate that may have a defensive purpose. It is a viscous liquid composed mainly of volatile terpenes and is produced mostly by coniferous trees. It is used in varnishes, for making small castings and in ten-pin bowling balls. When heated, the terpenes are driven off and the remaining product is called "rosin" and is used by stringed instrumentalists on their bows. Some resins contain essential oils and are used in incense and aromatherapy. Fossilized resin is known as amber and was mostly formed in the Cretaceous (145 to 65 million years ago) or more recently. The resin that oozed out of trees sometimes trapped insects or spiders and these are still visible in the interior of the amber.[128] The camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora) produces an essential oil [105] and the euca yptus tree (Eucalyptus globulus) is the main source of eucalyptus oil which is used in medicine, as a fragrance and in industry. Gutta-percha (Palaquium) is a genus of tropical trees native to Southeast Asia and northern Australasia, from Taiwan south to the Malay Peninsula and east to the Solomon Islands. The same term is used to refer to an inelastic natural latex produced from the sap of these trees, particularly from the species Palaquium gutta. Chemically, gutta-percha is a polyterpene, a polymer of isoprene, or polyisoprene, specifically (trans-1,4-polyisoprene). Heavy use of gutta-percha during the second half of the nineteenth century, particularly as insulation for underwater telegraph cables, led to unsustainable harvesting and a collapse of the supply.[1] Gutta-percha tree The word 'gutta-percha' comes from the plant's name in Malay, getah perca, which translates as "percha sap". Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses volatile plant materials, known as essential oils, and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering a person's mind, mood, cognitive function or health. Some essential oils such as tea tree[1] have demonstrated anti-microbial effects, but there is still a lack of clinical evidence demonstrating efficacy against bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. Evidence for the efficacy of aromatherapy in treating medical conditions remains poor, with a particular lack of studies employing rigorous methodology,[2] but some evidence exists that essential oils may have therapeutic potential.