Eating on the Wild Side: The Pharmacologic, Ecologic, and Social Implications of Using Noncultigens

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Overview

People have long used wild plants as food and medicine, and for a myriad of other important cultural applications. While these plants and the foraging activities associated with them have been dismissed by some observers as secondary or supplementary—or even backward—their contributions to human survival and well-being are more significant than is often realized. Eating on the Wild Side spans the history of human-plant interactions to examine how wild plants are used to meet medicinal, nutritional, and other human needs. Drawing on nonhuman primate studies, evidence from prehistoric human populations, and field research among contemporary peoples practicing a range of subsistence strategies, the book focuses on the processes and human ecological implications of gathering, semidomestication, and cultivation of plants that are unfamiliar to most of us. Contributions by distinguished cultural and biological anthropologists, paleobotanists, primatologists, and ethnobiologists explore a number of issues such as the consumption of unpalatable and famine foods, the comparative assessment of aboriginal diets with those of colonists and later arrivals, and the apparent self-treatment by sick chimpanzees with leaves shown to be pharmacologically active. Collectively, these articles offer a theoretical framework emphasizing the cultural evolutionary processes that transform plants from wild to domesticated—with many steps in between—while placing wild plant use within current discussions surrounding biodiversity and its conservation. Eating on the Wild Side makes an important contribution to our understanding of the links between biology and culture, describing the interface between diet, medicine, and natural products. By showing how various societies have successfully utilized wild plants, it underscores the growing concern for preserving genetic diversity as it reveals a fascinating chapter in the human ecology. CONTENTS 1. The Cull of the Wild, Nina L. Etkin
Selection
2. Agriculture and the Acquisition of Medicinal Plant Knowledge, Michael H. Logan & Anna R. Dixon
3. Ambivalence to the Palatability Factors in Wild Food Plants, Timothy Johns
4. Wild Plants as Cultural Adaptations to Food Stress, Rebecca Huss-Ashmore & Susan L. Johnston Physiologic Implications of Wild Plant Consumption
5. Pharmacologic Implications of "Wild" Plants in Hausa Diet, Nina L. Etkin & Paul J. Ross
6. Wild Plants as Food and Medicine in Polynesia, Paul Alan Cox
7. Characteristics of "Wild" Plant Foods Used by Indigenous Populations in Amazonia, Darna L. Dufour & Warren M. Wilson
8. The Health Significance of Wild Plants for the Siona and Secoya, William T. Vickers
9. North American Food and Drug Plants, Daniel M. Moerman Wild Plants in Prehistory
10. Interpreting Wild Plant Foods in the Archaeological Record, Frances B. King
11. Coprolite Evidence for Prehistoric Foodstuffs, Condiments, and Medicines, Heather B. Trigg, Richard I. Ford, John G. Moore & Louise D. Jessop Plants and Nonhuman Primates
12. Nonhuman Primate Self-Medication with Wild Plant Foods, Kenneth E. Glander
13. Wild Plant Use by Pregnant and Lactating Ringtail Lemurs, with Implications for Early Hominid Foraging, Michelle L. Sauther Epilogue
14. In Search of Keystone Societies, Brien A. Meilleur

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The value and contribution of this book is not just as a mere survey of plants; rather, it attempts successfully to indicate and share with the reader how plants contributed to shaping several very different societies. . . . Most rewarding." —Forest and Conservation History"A most important and serious collection of papers on the relevance of wild species of plants to people since human life began." —Biodiversity and Conservation"It leaves no doubt about the importance of noncultigens in human diets and healing activities." —American Anthropologist"A wonderful, thought-provoking collection." —Economic Botany
Booknews
Spans the history of human-plant interactions to examine how wild plants are used to meet medicinal, nutritional, and other human needs. Drawing on nonhuman primate studies, evidence from prehistoric human populations, and field research among contemporary peoples, the book focuses on the processes and human ecological implications of the gathering and cultivation of plants. Contributors include anthropologists, paleobotanists, and ethnobiologists. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816520671
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2000
  • Series: Arizona Studies in Human Ecology Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 305
  • Sales rank: 1,350,610
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Nina L. Etkin was a professor of anthropology and graduate chair in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa until her death in 2009. She was one of the two recipients of the 2009 Distinguished Economic Botanist Award from the Society for Economic Botany, and she was awarded the prestigious Hawai’i Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research.

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Table of Contents

1 The Cull of the Wild 1
2 Agriculture and the Acquisition of Medicinal Plant Knowledge 25
3 Ambivalence to the Palatability Factors in Wild Food Plants 46
4 Wild Plants as Cultural Adaptations to Food Stress 62
5 Pharmacologic Implications of "Wild" Plants in Hausa Diet 85
6 Wild Plants as Food and Medicine in Polynesia 102
7 Characteristics of "Wild" Plant Foods Used by Indigenous Populations in Amazonia 114
8 The Health Significance of Wild Plants for the Siona and Secoya 143
9 North American Food and Drug Plants 166
10 Interpreting Wild Plant Foods in the Archaeological Record 185
11 Coprolite Evidence for Prehistoric Foodstuffs, Condiments, and Medicines 210
12 Nonhuman Primate Self-Medication with Wild Plant Foods 227
13 Wild Plant Use by Pregnant and Lactating Ringtailed Lemurs, with Implications for Early Hominid Foraging 240
14 In Search of "Keystone Societies" 259
Contributors 281
Botanical Index 287
Topical Index 297
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