Essay on Ethnobotany

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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
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His research has led to the development of five drugs, now in different levels of development. The one closest to approval is a drug called Prostratin, which inhibits the growth of HIV. Besides working in the field, Cox is the Director of National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii, where he studies and preserves endangered plant species. He is also King Carl XVI Gustaf Professor of Environmental Science in Sweden, where he researches and records Swedish healing plants (Gerber and Marandino WWW). Michael Balick received his Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard University. His fieldwork there inspired him to go into ethnobotany. "I was absolutely fascinated by the diversity, the magnitude, the splendor, and the way in which the indigenous people related to their environment." Balick is currently Director of the Institute at the New York Botanical Garden and he teaches graduate courses and co-directs a woman's health program at Columbia University (Gerber and Marandino WWW). Four months out of every year Balick leaves home to go to Brazil, Belize, the South Pacific, and Southeast Asia to learn from the local people. He would like to set up a facility in Micronesia to gain the knowledge of traditional healing. A team of botanists, physicians, and healers would collect plant samples and then analyze them for healing properties. Balick has already established a facility like this in Central
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