Natural History of Medicinal Plants
Publication Date: 2008-04-07
Wild and cultivated plants have provided humans with cures for thousands of years. Aspirin, for example, the most widely used drug in the Western pharmacopoeia, was first isolated from willows to treat fever, pain, and inflammation. Writing for the lay reader, the author surveys the history of the use of plants in medicine, the range of chemicals produced by plants, and the prospects for future discoveries.
Publication Date: 2003-01-01
Botany in a Day
Publication Date: 2004-01-01
Botany in a Day gives you a way to identify plants by the hundreds, based on the principle that related plants have similar patterns for identification, and they often have similar uses. The one-day tutorial included in the text teaches you seven key patterns to recognize more than 45,000 species of plants worldwide.
The Botany of Desire
Publication Date: 2001-05-08
In 1637, one Dutchman paid as much for a single tulip bulb as the going price of a town house in Amsterdam. Three and a half centuries later, Amsterdam is once again the mecca for people who care passionately about one particular plant — thought this time the obsessions revolves around the intoxicating effects of marijuana rather than the visual beauty of the tulip. How could flowers, of all things, become such objects of desire that they can drive men to financial ruin? In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan argues that the answer lies at the heart of the intimately reciprocal relationship between people and plants. In telling the stories of four familiar plant species that are deeply woven into the fabric of our lives, Pollan illustrates how they evolved to satisfy humankinds’s most basic yearnings — and by doing so made themselves indispensable. For, just as we’ve benefited from these plants, the plants, in the grand co-evolutionary scheme that Pollan evokes so brilliantly, have done well by us. The sweetness of apples, for example, induced the early Americans to spread the species, giving the tree a whole new continent in which to blossom. So who is really domesticating whom? Weaving fascinating anecdotes and accessible science into gorgeous prose, Pollan takes us on an absorbing journey that will change the way we think about our place in nature.
Publication Date: 2015-03-12
Are plants intelligent? Can they solve problems, communicate, and navigate their surroundings? Or are they passive, incapable of independent action or social behavior? Philosophers and scientists have pondered these questions since ancient Greece, most often concluding that plants are unthinking and inert: they are too silent, too sedentary -- just too different from us. Yet discoveries over the past fifty years have challenged these ideas, shedding new light on the extraordinary capabilities and complex interior lives of plants. In Brilliant Green, Stefano Mancuso, a leading scientist and founder of the field of plant neurobiology, presents a new paradigm in our understanding of the vegetal world. Combining a historical perspective with the latest in plant science, Mancuso argues that, due to cultural prejudices and human arrogance, we continue to underestimate plants. In fact, they process information, sleep, remember, and signal to one another -- showing that, far from passive machines, plants are intelligent and aware. Through a survey of plant capabilities from sight and touch to communication, Mancuso challenges our notion of intelligence, presenting a vision of plant life that is more sophisticated than most imagine. Plants have much to teach us, from network building to innovations in robotics and man-made materials -- but only if we understand more about how they live. Part botany lesson, part manifesto, Brilliant Green is an engaging and passionate examination of the inner workings of the plant kingdom. Financial support for the translation of this book has been provided by SEPS: Segretariato Europeo Per Le Pubblicazioni Scientifiche.
Ginseng, the Divine Root
Publication Date: 2006-06-23
The story behind ginseng is as remarkable as the root itself. Prized for its legendary curative powers, ginseng launched the rise to power of China's last great dynasty; inspired battles between France and England; and sparked a boom in Minnesota comparable to the California Gold Rush. It has made and broken the fortunes of many and has inspired a subculture in rural America unrivaled by any herb in the plant kingdom. Today ginseng is at the very center of alternative medicine, believed to improve stamina, relieve stress, stimulate the immune system, enhance mental clarity, and restore well-being. It is now being studied by medical researchers for the treatment of cancer, diabetes, and Parkinson's disease. In Ginseng, the Divine Root, David Taylor tracks the path of this fascinating plant--from the forests east of the Mississippi to the bustling streets of Hong Kong and the remote corners of China. He becomes immersed in a world full of wheelers, dealers, diggers, and stealers, all with a common goal: to hunt down the elusive "Root of Life." Weaving together his intriguing adventures with ginseng's rich history, Taylor uncovers a story of international crime, ancient tradition, botany, herbal medicine, and the vagaries of human nature.