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


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An Analysis of the Medicinal Uses of Plants

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

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

Review ***** Discussion

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

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