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

The epigram above suggests that humans have been using plants for their medicinal qualities since time immemorial. In fact, the pollen of eight medicinal plants was determined to have ***** intentionally deposited in a 60,000*****year-old tomb in Iraq, and the shelves ***** ***** 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 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 the wide variety of applications for which such ********** are ***** used today. Furthermore, there is much money at stake in the medicinal plant trade, and critics suggest th***** virtually none of the money being made from ***** collection and sale is going to ***** indigenous peoples who rely upon them as a prim*****ry source of medicines. In an effort to shed some light on this controversy *****d to 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 ***** the research and findings will be presented in the conclusion.

***** and Discussion

Background and Overview. ***** that are used for medicinal purposes, rather than for food, are commonly referred to as "herbs" or "medicinal *****." There is physical evidence that the use of medicinal plant preparations dates back more ***** 60,000 years, and more than 25 percent of prescription ***** 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 today if mainstream practitioners had taken the ***** to investigate the countless reports of the *****nefits ***** 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 to ***** decidedly unscientific ***** of their effectiveness. For instance, ***** hundreds ***** years, it was believed that each ***** plant ***** a divine gift from God ***** also contained some type of "sign" that was intended to provide humankind with the benefits of the plant's healing effects. "Th***** belief ***** referred to as the 'doctrine of *****atures,'" Freeman and Lawlis note, and "*****, herbals are still used for their healing abilities, and herbal phyto***** is the f*****test growing alternative therapy in the United States" (2001:388). Given th***** increased popularity, it is little wonder that there has been some m*****understanding about how and when such medicinal

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