Cultural Use of Plants

aphrk at aphrk at
Fri Jul 2 14:05:34 EST 1993

Being an herbalist, I have studied how other cultures use plants for 
healing.  I suggest you take a look at the Journal of Ethnopharmacology
which investigates the use of plants in all countries for food and 

For instance, Traditional Chinese Medicine sees medicinal plants very
differently than our English colleagues.  TCM uses medicinal plants (herbs)
as food for their tonic properties.  Thus, a "soup" of vegetables and 
herbs would be recommended for various maladies.  The line between food
and medicine becomes blurred, unlike western cultures where we seem to
want to categorize them.  Take the current FDA mania of not knowing what
to do with herbs...are they food supplements or drugs?  

Another excellent reference discussing the food-medicine history is
"With Bitter Herbs They Shall Eat It", by ? Johns.  (forgot first name)

I think there is a wonderful opportunity to offer other models and
philosophies of the uses of plants by studying non-western cultures.
Of course, you realize this is blasphemy to the western scientific model
and you will run into resistance and heresy.  The holistic, circular
thought of non-western cultures is difficult to understand for us straight-

Robyn Klein, Herbalist
Bozeman, Montana

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