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

The epigram above suggests that humans have been using *****s for ********** 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 tomb in Iraq, and ***** shelves of the Assurbanipal library held tablets in cuneiform writing that listed more than 250 medicinal plants (Changeaux 1998). Today, there has ***** a resurgence ***** 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 ***** regulation and use of many ***** these plant materials, particularly in view of the lack of quality control and the wide variety ***** applications for which such plants are being used today. Furthermore, there is much money at stake in the medic*****al plant trade, and critics suggest th***** virtually none of ********** money ***** made from their collection and sale is going to the indigenous ********** who rely upon them as a prim*****ry source of *****s. ***** an effort to shed ***** light on this c*****troversy and ***** determine whether medicinal plants are, in fact, efficacious, this paper provides a re***** of the relevant literature concern*****g medicinal ***** to describe their history, traditional uses and their ***** today. A summary of the research and findings will be presented in ***** conclusion.

Review and Discussion

Background and Overview. Plants that are used for medicinal purposes, rather than ***** food, ***** 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 *****day 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 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 ***** taken seriously" (205). Perhaps some ***** the reluctance to such traditional approaches can be related to the decidedly unscientific source of ***** effectiveness. For instance, for hundreds of years, it ***** believed that each medicinal plant was a divine gift from God that also contained ***** type of "sign" that ***** intended to provide humankind with the benefits of the plant's healing effects. "This belief was referred to as the 'doctrine ***** signatures,'" Freeman ***** Lawlis note, and "Today, 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 ***** has been some m*****understanding about how and when such *****

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