Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
David G. Casagrande
Ethnopharmacology is the cross-cultural study of how people use plants, animals, fungi, or other naturally occurring resources for medicinal purposes. Such knowledge provides the basis for the herbal remedy industry and has led to the development of at least 121 pharmaceuticals. Often, this involves observation of how a traditional remedy is used; then, the effective chemical compound is isolated in a laboratory for commercial production. In an early example, the French naturalist Jean B. C. T. Leschenault de la Tour brought a plant of the genus Strychnos to France in 1805, based on its indigenous use in poison arrows in the South Pacific. French chemists isolated strychnine, an alkaloid still widely used in medicine. Ethnopharmacology ...