A large number of the trees forming these forests are still unknown to science, and yet Indians, these practical botanists and zoologists, are well acquainted, not only with their external appearance, but also with their various properties. It would greatly contribute to the progress of science if a systematic record were made of all information thus scattered throughout the land; an encyclopedia of the woods, as it were, taken down from the tribes which inhabit them.
-Professor and Mrs Louis Agassiz
Ethnobotany is a word that originates from the Greek words "Botans" meaning plants, and "Ethnos" meaning people. So it means: Plants that are used by people.
Quite an interesting concept, because is you think for a moment, humans have used plants -and are still using plants- for millennia. Such is the case of the most basic use of plants by humans: food. But then you find building materials, cloth, tools, arms, medicines and much more.
Actually 80% of world wide pharmacopoeia comes from tropical plants. And the knowledge on how to use of these plants lays in the people who live near or in the rain forest in our case. Such knowledge is obtained by scientists through bio prospection -asking local people how they use plants-.
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