How Were Herbal Medicines First Discovered?
Given that in any community there are many hundreds of plants (herbs, bushes, trees) it remains an unanswered question how people discovered which plant to use for what disorder in which form (plant part and preparation) and what dose.
- By chance
- Trial and error
- In dreams
- Message from the gods/spirit world
- Dictatorial regimes enforced testing
Can you come up with an explanation
and how can it be verified?
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Is there scope for new discoveries?
In the modern pharmaceutical world the method is simple, but time and resource consuming – to screen thousands of plants for relevant bioactivities in the lab. This is how yew for some cancers was discovered.
EKP DPG May 2009