Despite serious safety concerns, yew is used for treating diphtheria, tapeworms, swollen tonsils (tonsillitis), seizures (epilepsy), muscle and joint pain (rheumatism), urinary tract conditions, and liver conditions. Women use it for starting menstruation and causing abortions.
Pharmaceutical companies make paclitaxel (Taxol), a prescription drug for the treatment of breast and ovarian cancer, from the bark of the yew tree. They extract paclitaxel, leaving the poisonous chemicals in yew behind.
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