It is estimated by the World Health Organization that approximately 75-80% of the world’s population uses plant medicines either in part or entirely. For many this is out of necessity, since many cannot afford the high costs of pharmaceutical drugs. Growing numbers of global health care consumers are turning to plant medicines for many reasons – low cost and seeking natural alternatives with fewer side effects are commonly cited.
How Does a Plant Medicine Become Popularly Used?
Historic use: based upon the traditions of Europeans, Chinese, Egyptians, American Indians, and other cultures. Information on plant medicines handed down over the centuries. Currently anthropologists and other scientists are investigating newly-discovered cultures (visits with shamans in Amazonia and Belize, for example), to determine what plants are being used – this “ethnobotany” has introduced a number of new compounds into pharmaceutical research.