The Journal of Ethnopharmacology is dedicated to the exchange of information and understandings about people's use of plants, fungi, animals, microorganisms and minerals and their biological and pharmacological effects based on the principles established through international conventions. Early people confronted with illness and disease, discovered a wealth of useful therapeutic agents in the plant and animal kingdoms. The empirical knowledge of these medicinal substances and their toxic potential was passed on by oral tradition and sometimes recorded in herbals and other texts on materia medica. Many valuable drugs of today (e.g., atropine, ephedrine, tubocurarine, digoxin, reserpine) came into use through the study of indigenous remedies. Chemists continue to use plant-derived drugs (e.g., morphine, taxol, physostigmine, quinidine, emetine) as prototypes in their attempts to develop more effective and less toxic medicinals.