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

***** and Discussion

Background and Overview. Plants that are used for medicinal purposes, ra*****r ***** 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 from such herbs (Freeman & Lawless 2001:388). In fact, ***** 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 ********** ***** 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 concerning certain plants had been ***** seriously" (205). Perhaps some ***** ***** reluctance to such traditional approaches can be related to the decidedly unscientific source of ***** effectiveness. For instance, ***** hundreds of years, it was believed that each medicinal plant ***** a divine gift from God that also contained ***** type of "sign" that was intended to provide humankind with ***** benefits of the plant's healing effects. "Th***** belief was referred ***** as the 'doctrine ***** *****atures,'" Freeman and Lawlis note, and "Today, 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 ***** has been some misunderstanding about how and when such medicinal

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