Essay on The Power of Herbs

Essay on The Power of Herbs

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The Power of Herbs


Herbs are plants that have acquired some inherent value to humans (Keller, xiii). Three values that are relevant to this report are edibility, medicinal property, and toxicity. All plants have the potential to fall into the one or all of these categories.
Contrary to popular belief, the study of plants is not a pseudo-science. This belief perpetuates the idea that herbs need not be taken seriously. The study of herbs as a science, herbalism, safeguards human safety when using these plants.

Modern rules of herbalism draw upon many cultures that have used herbs for thousands of years. The first rule is that you only put in your mouth what you can positively identify. In many of the stories we have read, people were given concoctions that they could not identify. Drinking potions of unknown substances is dangerous and should never be done. Also, it is not true that if an animal eats a plant humans can too. Taste and smell of a plant are not reliable indicators of edibility. Also, one part of a plant may be useful and other parts deadly. These rules should always be followed today concerning the use of herbs, or the effects may be fatal.

Every piece of plant matter that humans eat is part of an herb. Common herbs found in a grocery store include potatoes, carrots, celery, broccoli, corn, basil etc. The main values in these herbs are dietary and digestive. Many essential nutrients and vitamins are found in herbs that are not available in meat or dairy products. Although the herbs listed above are in common use, it took hundreds of years to form them into their genetically improved form from the wild plant. Wild corn, potatoes and carrots look very different from their grocery store counterparts, but t...


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...be mentioned to warn against poisoning. Although there are edible mushrooms, like herbs, there are many look-a-likes that are deadly. Always be absolutely sure what you are taking, which means you must positively identify it yourself.

Works Cited

AP. "5 Schenectady Teens Treated After Eating Toxic Plant." Star Gazette 12 Dec. 1997: A2.

Elliot, Doug. Wild Roots: A Foragers Guide to the Edible and Medicinal Roots. Tubers. Corms. and Rhizomes of North America. Rochester: Healing Arts Press, 1995.

Foster, Steven, and Duke, James A. Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants. New York: Houghton Mifflin, l990.

Keller, Mitzie Stuart. Mysterious Herbs & Roots: Ancient Secrets for Beautie. Health. Magick, Prevention and Youth. Culver City: Peace Press, 1978.

Scanlon, Matt. "Pursuits of Happiness and the 'Miracle Herb.'" Mother Earth News. Nov. 1997: 44, 46, 68.

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