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Ethnobotany is the study of how people of a particular culture and region make use of indigenous plants. Cultures have been using the environment around them for thousands of years. The use of plants were mentioned in the Code of Hammurabi in Babylon circa 1770 BC. The ancient Egyptians believed that plants had medicinal powers in the afterlife of the pharaohs (King and Veilleux WWW). Indigenous cultures of the rainforests and other areas still use plants today in their everyday lives. If plants work to help these cultures, should not they be researched to help the rest of the world?
Many jungles and rainforests contain unexplored species of plants that could contain medicinal uses. Ethnobotanists explore how plants are used for things, such as food, shelter, clothing, hunting, and religious ceremonies. These scientists spend long hours of hard time in the field doing research of these plants (King and Veilleux WWW).
Ethnobotanists are usually biologists that have had additional graduate training. They may have had training in things such as archeology, chemistry, ecology, anthropology, linguistics, history, pharmacology, sociology, religion, or mythology. With these skills, they can look at more than just the plant. They look at the culture and the resource of it (King and Veilleux WWW).
There are many ethnobotanists that have helped to bring ethnomedicine to the United States. Each Ethnobotanist has their own unique way of researching cultures and plant species. The following Ethnobotanists are prominent figures in their field of research.
Paul Alan Cox took his first trip in to the jungle in 1973, on a mission as a Mormon. He later got his Ph.D. at Harvard and taught at Brigham Young Univ...
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Alexiades, Dr. Miguel. Book Review: A Field Guide to Medicinal and Useful Plants of the Upper Amazon. [Online] Available http://www.rainforest.alliance.org/marketplace/books/reviews/field-guide.html, November 5, 2000.
Gerber, Suzanne and Marandino, Cristin. A Search for Miracles. Vegetarian Times, November 1998, Newsbank, [Online].
King, Steven and Veilleux, Connie. An Introduction to Ethnobotany. [Online] Available http://accessexcellence.org/RC/Ethnobotany/page2.html, November 5, 2000.
O'Connor, Tanya. Interest Drops in Rainforest Remedies. [Online] Available http://health24news.com/Archive/Channel+Content/Health+Ne…
/ethno+pharm0705.ht, July 5, 2000.
Rainforest Medical Foundation. [Online] Available http://www.xs4all.nl/~rainmed/, November 5, 2000.
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