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 their medi*****inal qualities since time immemorial. In fact, the pollen of eight medicinal plants was determined to have been intentionally deposited in a 60,000-ye*****r-old ********** in Iraq, and the shelves ***** ***** 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 medicin*****l plants as many people seek alternatives to the cures being touted by mainstream medicine. There ***** been some controversy, though, over the regulation and use of many of *****se plant materials, particularly in view ***** the lack of quality control and the wide variety of applications for which such plants are being used today. Fur*****rmore, there is much money at stake in the medicinal plant trade, and critics suggest that virtually none of the money ***** made from ***** collection and sale is going to the indigenous *****s who rely upon *****m as a prim*****ry source of **********. In an effort to shed ***** light on this c*****troversy *****d ***** determine whether medicinal ***** are, in fact, efficacious, this paper provides a re***** of the relev*****nt literature concerning medicinal plants to describe their history, traditional uses and their ***** *****. A summary ***** the research and findings will be presented in ***** conclusion.

Review ***** Discussion

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

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