The Narcotic That May Not Grow on Trees, After Allcarmendrahl (2593679) writes "Tramadol is a painkiller that's been on the market since the 1970's (it was recently reclassified as a Schedule IV controlled substance). It was designed to contain the essential structural elements of morphine but it was produced entirely synthetically. Last year, researchers reported finding tramadol in the roots of the pincushion tree (Nauclea latifolia), a plant used in traditional medicine in Africa. But last week, a different team published their own findings: they report that the tramadol in the pincushion tree is a contamination. Farmers in the region feed cattle tramadol, and then the cattle excrete it near the trees. Experts who weren't involved in either study are leaning toward contamination being the real story, but they're holding out for a few more types of studies before committing to a side."
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