Essay - An Analysis of the Medicinal Uses of Plants First the...


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An Analysis of the Medicinal Uses of Plants

First ***** word, then the plant, lastly the knife. - Aesculapius of Thassaly, c. 1200 BC

The epigram above suggests that humans have been using plants for ********** medicinal qualities since time immemorial. In fact, the pollen of eight medicinal plants was determined to have ***** intentionally deposited in a 60,000-year-old ********** in Iraq, and ***** shelves ***** the Assurbanipal library held tablets in cuneiform writing that listed more than 250 ***** plants (Changeaux 1998). Today, there has been a resurgence of interest in such medicinal plants as many people seek alternatives to the cures being touted by mainstream medicine. There has been some controversy, though, over the regulation and use ***** many of *****se plant materials, particularly in view ***** the lack of quality control ***** ***** wide variety ***** applications for which such ********** are being used today. Furthermore, there is much money at stake in the ***** plant trade, and critics suggest that virtually none of the money be*****g made from their collection and sale is going to the indigenous ********** who rely upon them as a prim*****ry source of *****s. In an effort to shed ***** light on this c*****troversy *****d to determine whether medicinal plants are, in fact, efficacious, this paper provides a re***** of the relev*****nt literature concerning medicinal ***** to describe their history, traditional uses and their applications today. A summary of the research and findings will be presented in ***** conclusion.

***** ***** Discussion

Background and Overview. ***** that are used for medicinal purposes, rather ***** for food, ***** commonly referred to as "herbs" or "medicinal herbs." There is physical evidence that the use of ***** plant preparations dates back more than 60,000 years, and more ***** 25 percent of prescription medicines available ***** have been developed ***** such herbs (Freeman & Lawless 2001:388). In fact, some observers suggest that modern medicine would be light-***** ahead of where it is *****day if mainstream practitioners had taken the ***** to investigate the countless reports of the ********** ***** medicinal plants; for example, Sapu Changkija (2000) points out that, "Many renowned drugs of today would have gone into wider use decades ago ***** the folklore and traditions of tribal people concerning certain plants had ***** ***** seriously" (205). Perhaps some ***** ***** reluctance to such traditional approaches can be related ***** the decidedly unscientific source of ***** effectiveness. For instance, ***** hundreds ***** years, it was believed that each medicinal plant ***** a divine gift from God ***** also contained some type of "sign" that was intended to provide humankind with ***** benefits of the plant's healing effects. "Th***** belief was referred to as the 'doctrine ***** *****atures,'" Freeman ***** Lawlis note, and "*****, herbals are still used for their healing abilities, and herbal phytomedicine is the f*****test growing alternative therapy in the United States" (2001:388). Given this increased popularity, it is little wonder that there has been some misunderstanding ab***** how and when such *****

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