The Way Humans Use Plants

Intro To Plants

Through out history, humanshave used plants for almost everything in their everyday lives. Humans have found a use for almost each type of plant that they have discovered through out history. For example humans have used plants for medical purposes, a source of nutrition, as a source of fuel, clothing. Plants are everywhere in our everyday lives from leaves to all theway down to the roots.

1.1 Medical

Plants do have a trait that does help create modern day medicine. It all started in ancient culture where people used plants to relieve aches and pains.[1] In europe and america, they had researched about herbs to see if they can help cure diseases.[2] There are plants that were used in theses ancient cultures that are still used to this very day. For example the leaves of willows which were chewed by native americans to relieve pains, aspirins use a similar compound of these leaves.[3] Digitalis is a big treatment for heart disease, digitalis is found on foxglove plants.[4] Aloe which was used by Cleopatra to help keep her skin soft and young.[5] There are still new discoveries of new and old plants the are helping advancing modern medicine.
Aloe barbadensis (
Aloe barbadensis (

1.2 Food

Since the beginning of time plants have been a source of food for all living things on Earth. Currently there are about 20,000 known edible plants around the world.[6] It's hard to believe that many kinds of plants are edible. The type of plant that makes most of the things we eat are grain products, like wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, and rye.[7] Plants are also used to make some of the most popular beverages around the world, coffee, different kinds of tea, cocoa, and natural fruit juices.[8]
Some of these plants are herbs that are used to season our food. Take Thyme for example, it is the most commonly used herb in the culinary arts.[9] It is used to flavour meat, fish, and poultry.[10] Thyme is mostly used because it stimulates appetite, cleans the palate and it also helps digestion.[11] People are still finding new ways to use plants as a source of food
Thymus vulgaris (
Thymus vulgaris (

1.3 Fuel

Scienctist have found ways to turn different plants into fuels. Scientist are working hard to cut down on pollution, a way their trying to pull this off is by replacing fossil fuels with less polluting biofuels.[12] The bases of biofuels are, using the alcohol from plants to help run the electric appliances that we use day to day.[13] Another useful type of biofuel is called butanol, which comes from wood chips, cellulose from plant stalk, corn starch and sugarcane.[14] Ethanol is another type of biofuel that uses the fermentation technique to produce energy.[15] Ethanol can be produced from wheat, corn, barley, beets.[16] There are other types of fuels such as microbial fuel cells.[17] Plants can be the future saviour of Earth.

1.4 Clothing

Humans have used different plants to create clothing. For example lien, which may be hard to believe but it is made from annuals it is weird but the plant does have really durable fibres.[18] Flax another plant which creates lien, which has been used for centuries.[19] Take the ancient Egyptians they have used lien for both clothing and for wrapping their dead.[20] Now lien is used from high end clothing to table cloths to insulation.[21] Clothing made of flax are resistant to water, and can get wet many times without it losing it's shape.[22] Lien does become softer after washing. Unlike lien, cotton can not retain it's shape.[23] However it is the mostly used fibre around the world.[24] There are other fibres that are not as popular as lien or cotton.[25] For example hemp which comes from cannabis.[26] Hemp can withstand water, however it does easily wrinkle.[27] Ramie is another unknown fibre, it is very absorbent but dries quickly, and 5 times stronger then cotton and 2 times stronger then lien.[28] Plants have been covering us, for quiet along time.
Cotton Plant (
Cotton Plant (

1.5 Others

The are other things the plants do that most people don't really think about.

1.5.1 Paper Products

Its hard that plants can be turned to sheets of paper. It all started with the ancient Egyptians who used a plant called papyrus a grass like plant.[29] This was the first ever paper created.[30] Later on the chinese had found a new way to create paper by using any plant fibres to make paper.[31] The way they do is by adding water to make pulp, the pulp is then flatten and let out to dry to make thin sheets of paper.[32] Any plant with high cellulose are great in making pulp.[33] Now the most common way to make paper is through trees like aspen and pine trees.[34]

1.5.2 Shelter

For years humans have depend on plant to keep them sheltered from the elements. Think about your home and what's it made of. Any money the frame of your house is made of wood which is a plant.[35] Now take a look inside your house, your furniture is most likely made of cloth and wood which are also plant products.[36] Even the paint around your house are made of plant product because paints use dyes to get their colours, and dyes are products of plants. You may not notice but plants are the ones that keep us safe.
Papyrus (
Papyrus (

Links to Check Out

Plants Slide Show
Threads of Life - Hemp in the Hmong culture
How to Make Paper at Home
Human uses of Plants Article




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