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Plants and Society, 3/e
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Medicinal Plants

Concept Quizzes


The abuse of products containing Ephedra extracts has increased concerns about the unregulated marketing of herbal remedies. Investigate the stores in your area that sell herbal remedies. What plant extracts are available that have known physiological or psychoactive effects?

The recent success of taxol in treating ovarian and breast cancer has renewed interest in searching for medicinal plants. At the same time, forest destruction is eroding the biodiversity of the planet.

What steps can be taken to insure that useful plant species will be preserved?

Herbal remedies have moved from the realm of health food stores to drugstores and supermarket pharmacies. In contrast to its regulation of the pharmaceutical industry, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does not set standards for the manufacturing and sale of herbal remedies, nor does it require exhaustive research to substantiate purported health benefits advertised on the labels of herbal supplements.

What advice would you give a person who is choosing to self-medicate using herbs? How can the educated consumer be assured of the efficacy of herbal preparations? What changes in the law would you suggest?