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Ethnobotany is the study of how plants are used in specific regions and by specific cultures. Plants have many uses in human society, including providing food, medicine, and dyes, and some are also used in religious rituals. Some of the most common pharmaceutical products used today, including aspirin, digitalis, and quinine, were originally derived from plant sources, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 40 percent of drugs used in Western medical practice derive from traditional uses of medicinal plants. One line of research into the creation of new pharmaceutical compounds today involves the study of how native plants are used for healing in traditional cultures. With increased commercial interest in integrating traditional knowledge within the modern health care system, however, have come concerns ...

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