Ethnopharmacology is a component of Encyclopedia of Biological, Physiological and Health Sciences in the global Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), which is an integrated compendium of twenty one Encyclopedias.
Ethnopharmacology is the scientific study correlating ethnic groups, their health, and how it relates to their physical habits and methodology in creating and using medicines. This Theme on Ethnopharmacology presents the field as an amalgam of perspectives, primarily those of pharmacology, pharmacognosy, anthropology, and botany. It highlights the uniquely biocultural perspective on ethnopharmacology offered by medical anthropology, which underscores that health and healing are culturally constructed and socially negotiated. The definition of ethnopharmacology that frames this volume is: the study of indigenous medical systems that connects the ethnography of health and healing with the physiological relevance of its medical practices. The history of botanical medicines is traced from primate self-medication to contributions to biomedicine. The methods of ethnopharmacologic inquiry are presented from pharmacologic, ecological, ethnographic, data management, and ethical perspectives. Chapters are devoted to plants used in the treatment of specific disorders: cancer, parasitic infection, AIDS, inflammation, diabetes, and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders. The important role that plant medicines play in the developing world is revealed in discussion of ritual and ceremony, safety issues, health care, and biodiversity.
These two volumes are aimed at the following a wide spectrum of audiences from the merely curious to those seeking in-depth knowledge: University and College students Educators, Professional practitioners, Research personnel and Policy analysts, managers, and decision makers and NGOs.