Plants That Cure is a fascinating exploration of the world's most important medicinal plants, the compounds they produce, and how they benefit the human body, demonstrating how vitally important plants are to our health and wellbeing.
Of the approximately 300,000 plants that have evolved on Earth, at least one tenth of them have been used in traditional herbal medicine or as local remedies. More recently, the application of science has proven the effectiveness of many of these plants, and enabled us to develop important medicines, often in the form of single isolated plant compounds. This fascinating and beautifully presented book explores these compounds and the plants that produce them, and how they have transformed the lives of countless people.
An extended introduction explains how our use of plants as medicines has developed from ancient times into a number of traditional systems, and into modern medicine. Plants That Cure is organised by body system and type of condition, which are illustrated with examples of compounds used to treat them and the plants that they are found in. Many of these plants have a long history of use that has been investigated, so their mechanism of action can be explained, as well as their role within the plants themselves. For other plant compounds, our modern use is a fortuitous chance discovery. Their varied stories are told, each leading to one or more type of medicine, many of which will be familiar to the reader.
Elizabeth Dauncey is a botanist with a PhD in Plant Taxonomy. She spent most of her career working for the Poisons Unit of Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital NHS Trust in London, on joint initiatives with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. After four years with Kew’s Medicinal Plant Names Services, which enables effective communication about medicinal plants in health, regulation and research, Liz now works freelance. Liz is author of Poisonous Plants: A Guide for Parents and Childcare Providers (Kew Publishing, 2010) and co-author of Plants that Kill (Kew Publishing, 2018).
Melanie-Jayne Howes is a registered pharmacist and Chartered Chemist. She obtained a PhD in pharmacognosy prior to her appointment as a phytochemist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Her research has focused on investigating the scientific basis for the uses of plants, particularly those used as medicines and for human health. Melanie-Jayne is also Visiting Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, King's College London, and is a Member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry. She is the co-author of The Gardener's Companion to Medicinal Plants (White Lion, 2017).