Class Notes and Handouts for
Plant Biology 102

Plants, People and the Environment

Links of the Day:

Lecture 24. Not by bread alone: Aboriginal use of drug plants.

Plants have been used for food, shelter, medicines, spices, and industry for millenia. The focus of today's lecture was on the use of plants for medicine, and the related topic of how aboriginal cultures use plants with psychoactive alkaloids. The study of how people of a particular culture or region use plants is called Ethnobotany.

The links offered today include the topics of Medicinal Plants, Traditional Medicine and Conservation, Medicines that Changed the World, Plant Drugs, and Plants and Cancer Treatment. If you are interested in finding more sites like the ones I've included here, try this link to Medicinal Plant Databases.

The aboriginal use of drug plants include the use of hallucinogenic compounds to facilitate communication with a deity in some cultures and for medicines in all aboriginal cultures. The links provided here yield a lot of information on the psychoactive compounds found is some plants as well as some background on substance abuse, government policy, and reference links for additional information: The History of Tobacco, Portrait of Drug Production and Use, A Chronology of Psychoactive Substance Abuse, Opium for the Masses, Legalized Cultivation of Opium in India, and Schaffer Library of Drug Policy.

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Last updated March 1, 1999.