ETHNOBOTANY AND THE SEARCH FOR NEW DRUGS

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Author : Ciba Foundation Symposium

Published in : JOHN  WILEY  &  SONS

ISBN : 0  471 95024 6

File Type : pdf

File Size : 18 mb

Language : English

Description

Many drugs that are on the market have come to us from folk use and use of plants by indigenous cultures. These drugs are being used in some way in modern medicine, but not necessarily for the same purpose as they were used by the native cultures. Very often, something has been used by local peoples because it is biologically active, but a more appropriate use for it in Western medicine is for something different. Folk medicine has been a pointer towards many of the drugs that we use and it is certainly a very useful indicator of biologically active substances. For ethnobotanists, the recent accelerated work on  ethnobotany because of the renewed interest of the pharmaceutical and medical world is most welcome. It has helped the science of ethnobotany, not just medical ethnobotany but ethnobotany in general, to advance. One of the reasons the study of ethnobotany has accelerated is that we are aware that if we don’t do some of this work now, it will be too late because of the unfortunate acculturation of tribal peoples around the world. We also need to bear in mind the vital importance of conservation of culture, as well as biodiversity. To my mind, biodiversity gets too much emphasis compared with cultural conservation. We should be asking ourselves: how can our work in ethnobotany help to maintain cultural identity? Several papers in this symposium point out the importance of cultural identity, the importance of tribal customs and of their religions.
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