chapter  45
Relationship of Medicinal Plants and Environmental Stresses
Advantages and Disadvantages
WithAmir Hossein Saeidnejad
Pages 15

The earliest records regarding the use of medicinal plants are obtained from Mesopotamian civilizations and are as old as 2600 BC (Gurib-Fakim, 2006). History shows that plants with medicinal properties were in use in the Assyrian, Babylonian, Chinese, Greek, and Hebrew civilizations (Humayun, 2007). People in rural areas have always used native plants and herbs as medicines, partly due to the wide gap of educational, research, and health facilities between rural and urban areas and partly because of socioeconomic issues (Shinwari and Khan, 2000). Today, some medicinal plants need to be cultivated at commercial scales to meet the ever-increasing demands of the pharmaceutical industry. In the mid-twentieth century, the use of synthetic chemical compounds for therapeutic purposes became widespread. However, the worth of medicinal plants came under the spotlight again when researchers failed to produce comparatively affordable and safe medicines, and thus, herbal medicine experienced a revival, especially in Western society.