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Natural History Of Medicinal Plants

Overview

Wild and cultivated plants have provided humans with cures for thousands of years. Aspirin, for example, the most widely used drug in the Western pharmacopoeia, was first isolated from willows to treat fever, pain, and inflammation. Writing for the lay reader, the author surveys the history of the use of plants in medicine, the range of chemicals produced by plants, and the prospects for future discoveries.

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Overview

Wild and cultivated plants have provided humans with cures for thousands of years. Aspirin, for example, the most widely used drug in the Western pharmacopoeia, was first isolated from willows to treat fever, pain, and inflammation. Writing for the lay reader, the author surveys the history of the use of plants in medicine, the range of chemicals produced by plants, and the prospects for future discoveries.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A botany instructor at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard U. enlightens users of willow-derived aspirin on how plant defenses were found to be useful medicinally; and introduces the new field of zoopharmacognosy that studies how other animals use plants for healing. Includes 30 color plates, line drawings, and a glossary. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From The Critics
Before discoveries were made in the labs, plant medicines accounted for most of the substances used to cure disease. Natural History of Medicinal Plants provides a fascinating and informative science history of plantbase medicine, how people have learned the applications of such medicine, and why plants developed curative properties. Chapters will prove of use to both those involved in health professions and botanists alike.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780881929577
  • Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/7/2008
  • Pages: 252
  • Sales rank: 1,140,043
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.53 (d)

Meet the Author

Judith Sumner teaches medicinal botany at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and at the Garden in the Woods, the botanic garden of the New England Wild Flower Society in Framingham, Massachusetts. Her lectures are highly sought after by inquisitive students of all ages, and she has been honored with awards for excellence in teaching. She is the author of The Natural History of Medicinal Plants as well as numerous scientific publications.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 9
Preface 11
Acknowledgments 13
Ch. 1 A Brief History of Medicinal Botany 15
Ch. 2 Acquiring Knowledge 39
Ch. 3 Medicinal Plants in Nature 59
Ch. 4 Toxins and Cures: A Cabinet of Plant Chemicals 79
Ch. 5 Defensive Strategies and Plant Chemistry 107
Ch. 6 Significant Discoveries 125
Ch. 7 Zoopharmacognosy and Botanical Toxins 145
Ch. 8 Chemical Prospecting and New Plant Medicines 163
Ch. 9 Protecting Medicinal Biodiversity and Knowledge 181
Ch. 10 Herbal Histories, Considerations, and Caveats 203
Glossary 219
Further Reading 221
Index 225
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