"You may take feverfew for a migraine or black cherry syrup for a cough, but do you know how these plant medicines are helping you? This is a tricky question, and there are lots of different ways to answer it. Depending on who you ask, you may hear that chemical constituents in plants catalyze certain reactions in the body. This is the same model by which the scientific community understands pharmaceutical actions. There is nothing wrong with answering the question this way. However, humans have been using plants to heal and prevent disease for millennia. Long before anyone understood anything about chemical constituents, herbalists used Chinese herbal medicine to match plants with disease.
How did they obtain this knowledge? It would have taken countless attempts to figure this out by trial and error. Without advanced equipment to analyze chemical make-up or even biological classification, they must have been able to gather information using just their senses, information that gave them an understanding of plants" medicinal qualities."
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