Medicinal Plant Essay
How much does the average person know about the origins and uses of common medicinal plants? Plants have been of utmost importance in stocking our modern medicine chest. Although we take pills in this country now, our pharmacopoeia originated from herbal beginnings, and herbal medicine is still practiced by most people in the world, as it has been for thousands of years. Interestingly, there is always great potential for abuse of many valuable plant products.
For fun, do an informal survey of friends and family using the following questions:
1. Name the deadly poison in foxglove (the beautiful garden flower).
2. How is this poison used in the modern practice of cardiology (what can it do for patients suffering from weakened hearts)?
3. Whats the difference between a medicine and a poison anyway?
4. Who were the first modern medical doctors, anyway?
5. What drug used by indigenous hunters in the Amazon rain forest allows 20th Century surgeons to perform surgery on the heart?
6. What is the most widely used medicine in the world?
Answers: 1. digitalis and digoxin 2. It regulates and strengthens heartbeat 3. dosage 4. European herbalists and botanists of the 1500s 5. curare, the arrow poison, from which tubocurarine was synthesized 6. acetyl salicylic acid, aspirin, from willow bark
Remember, like the Agricultural Plant Essay, this assignment is to research a medicinal plant in the literature, your textbook, and the Internet, and to write out answers to the list of questions. This essay must be a minimum of 500 words. There is no maximum word count. This essay is worth 25 points. Essays that earn the full 25 points are usually over 500 words in length, use the scientific vocabulary presented in the course website and textbook, are edited for spelling and grammar, have a high degree of accuracy of information, and are written at a college level. This essay will be graded as follows: 10 points for accuracy and quality of the answers 10 points for completeness, depth and breadth of answers 5 points for following the required format for the essay. Points will be deducted for low word count and/or late submissions. Submit the Medicinal Plant Essay through Turnitin.com.
Choose a plant from the list below, and answer the following questions:
1. What is the plant product/extract/medicine/drug?
2. What is the plants scientific name, what plant family does it belong to, and what other plants is it related to?
3. What is its country/region of origin, and when was it domesticated?
4. When did it make its way from the new world to the old world (or vice versa)?
5. Where are its modern centers of production?
6. What part of the plant produces the plant product?
7. What is it used for medicinally (or ceremonially)?
8. What is the danger in abusing this plant product?
9. Name an interesting fact about the plant, the product or its effect(s).
10. In aIDition to the Wikipedia entry, cite the most informative URL you found for this plant product.
If you have a special plant that you would like to research that is not on the following list, email me for my OK. Refer to the Agricultural Plant Essay for a style guide on how to present this essay.
Medicinal Plant Choices is: