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 ***** 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 writing that listed more than 250 medicinal plants (Changeaux 1998). Today, there has been a resurgence of interest in such ***** plants as many people seek alternatives to the cures be*****g touted by mainstream medicine. There h***** been some controversy, t*****ough, over the regulation and use of many of these plant materials, particularly in view ***** the lack of quality control and ***** wide variety of 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 being made from ***** collection and sale is going to the indigenous peoples who rely upon them as a primary source of medicines. ***** an effort to shed some light on this c*****troversy and ***** determine whether medicinal plants 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 applications *****. A summary ***** the research and findings will be presented in the conclusion.

Review and Discussion

Background and Overview. Plants that are used for medicinal purposes, rather ***** for food, are 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 than 25 percent of prescription medicines available today have been developed ***** such herbs (Freeman & Lawless 2001:388). In fact, some observers suggest that modern medicine would be light-years ahead ***** 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 ***** the folklore and traditions of tribal people ***** certain plants had been taken seriously" (205). Perhaps some of the reluctance to such traditional approaches can be related ***** the decidedly unscientific ***** of ***** effectiveness. For instance, ***** hundreds ***** years, it ***** believed that each medicinal plant was a divine gift from God that also contained some type of "sign" ***** was intended to provide humankind with the ***** of ***** 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 phyto***** is the fastest growing alternative therapy in the United States" (2001:388). Given this increased popularity, it is little wonder that ***** has been some misunderstanding ab***** how and when such *****

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