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close this bookMedicinal Plants: An Expanding Role in Development (World Bank, 1996, 32 pages)
close this folder1. Introduction
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View the documentUsage in Developing Nations
View the documentUsage in Industrialized Nations


In the past a number of definitions for the term medicinal plant have been offered. and Soejarto (1991) imply that it is only when medicinal properties are proven by Western research should a species be labeled a "'medicinal plant." Fellows (1991), on the other hand, suggests that the term indicates merely a species known to beneficially modulate the physiology of sick mammals, and that has been used by mankind.

For present purposes, we are employing the following definition:

Medicinal plants are those that are commonly used in treating and preventing specific ailments and diseases, and that are generally considered to play a beneficial role in health care.