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 *****ir medicinal qualities since time immemorial. In fact, the pollen of eight medicinal plants was determined to have ***** intentionally deposited in a 60,000*****ye*****r-old ********** in Iraq, and ***** shelves ***** 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 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 ***** the lack of quality control ***** ***** wide variety of applications for which such *****s 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 their collection and sale is going to the indigenous peoples who rely upon them as a primary source of *****s. In an effort to shed some light on this c*****troversy and to determine whether medicinal plants are, in fact, efficacious, this paper provides a review of the relev*****nt literature concerning medicinal ***** to describe their history, traditional uses and their ***** *****. A summary of the research and findings will be presented in the conclusion.

***** ***** Discussion

Background and Overview. ***** ***** are used for medicinal purposes, rather ***** ***** 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 ********** have been developed ***** such herbs (Freeman & Lawless 2001:388). In fact, ***** observers suggest that modern medicine would be light-years ahead of where it is today if mainstream practitioners had taken the ***** to investigate the countless reports of the benefits ***** medicinal plants; for example, Sapu Changkija (2000) points out *****, "Many renowned drugs of today would have gone into wider use decades ago if the folklore and traditions of tribal people ***** 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, for hundreds ***** years, it ***** believed that each medicinal plant was a divine gift from God ***** also contained some type of "sign" that was intended to provide humankind with ***** ***** of the plant's healing effects. "Th***** belief ***** referred to as the 'doctrine ***** signatures,'" Freeman ***** Lawlis note, and "*****, herbals are still *****d for their healing abilities, and herbal phyto***** is the fastest growing alternative therapy in the United States" (2001:388). Given th***** *****creased popularity, it is little wonder that there has been some misunderstanding about how and when such *****


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