Dangerous Garden : The Quest for Plants to Change Our Lives
David StuartISBN: 067401104X; 9780674011045;
Book Description As our earliest ancestors migrated out of Africa, they encountered entirely new floras. By sampling these, they found plants that appeared to (and sometimes did) heal wounds, cure maladies, and ease troubled minds. This process of discovery continues today, as multinational pharmaceutical companies bioprospect in the globe's remaining wild places for the next tamoxifen or digitalis. The gardener and botanist David Stuart tells the fascinating story of botanical medicine, revealing more than soothing balms and heroic cures. Most of the truly powerful and effective medicinal plants are double-edged, with a dark side to balance the light. They can heal or kill, calm or enslave, lift depression or summon our gods and monsters. Often the difference between these polar effects is a simple change in dosage. Stuart chronicles the tale of how the herbal materia medica of healing and killing plants has sparked wars, helped establish intercontinental trade...