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 ********** for their medicinal qualities since time immemorial. In fact, the pollen ***** eight medicinal plants was determined to have been intentionally deposited in a 60,000*****year-old *****mb in Iraq, and ***** shelves of the Assurbanipal library held tablets in cuneiform writ*****g that listed more than 250 medicinal plants (Changeaux 1998). Today, there has ***** a resurgence ***** interest in such medic**********l 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 of many ***** *****se plant materials, particularly in view of the lack of quality control ***** ***** wide variety ***** applications for which such *****s are ***** used today. Furthermore, there is much money at stake in the medic*****al plant trade, and critics suggest th***** virtually none of ********** money being made from ***** collection and sale is going to the indigenous peoples who rely upon *****m as a prim*****ry source of medicines. ***** an effort to shed ***** light on this controversy and ***** determine whether medicinal plants are, in fact, efficacious, this paper provides a review of the relev*****nt literature concern*****g medicinal ***** to describe their history, traditional uses and their applications *****. A summary of the research and findings will be presented in ***** conclusion.

***** ***** Discussion

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


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