Category Archives: Plants & Medicine

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Researching The Untapped Health Benefits Of Edible Flowers

The growing need for nutraceutical new foods has generated interest in edible flowers.This flower trait inspired us to conduct experiments aimed at evaluating both the antioxidant activity and anthocyanin content in twelve species commonly used as ornamental plants. The antioxidant power of the edible flowers was very high compared to common vegetables and/or fruits. (Click on title for full story.)

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Following Chimpanzees To Uncover Their Pharmaceutical Plant Secrets

These West African plants are part of a ‘jungle pharmacy’ sought out by wild chimpanzees to treat ailments ranging from worm infestations to bacterial infections. And because humans share 98% of their DNA with chimps, and are susceptible to some of the same diseases, they might work on people too. At least that is the theory behind a research project in Côte d’Ivoire that is screening such plants for possible human treatments. So far it has identified compounds that able to kill bacterial and yeast infections in a petri dish, and even some that seem to inhibit cancer development. Eventually, such discoveries could lead to new antibiotics, antifungals or cancer treatments.(Click on title for full story.)

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Armenia’s Almost Lost Folk Medicine Reborn

Amasiatsi’s incredibly rich text advises on the uses of native Armenian plants in such depth that his writings continue to influence modern pharmacists, like Armen Sahakyan, a pharmacologist and botanical scholar who has been working at the Matenadaran Museum for the last several decades. A trained medical doctor ordained a deacon in 1997, Sahakyan has dedicated his life to the maintenance of Armenia’s sacred botanical traditions.(Click on title for full story.)

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Does Use Of Anti-Fungal Drugs On Plants Endanger Human Health?

“Given that these fungi can persist for a long time, we are advising people not to plant tulip or narcissus bulbs in or near healthcare facilities or in the gardens of living quarters of patients who are in any way immunocompromised.” (Click on title for full story.)

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How Peat Moss Saved Lives During World War 1

In ancient times, Gaelic-Irish sources wrote that warriors in the battle of Clontarf used moss to pack their wounds. Moss was also used by Native Americans, who lined their children’s cradles and carriers with it as a type of natural diaper. It continued to be used sporadically when battles erupted, including during the Napoleonic and Franco-Prussian wars. But it wasn’t until World War I that medical experts realized the plant’s full potential. (Click on title for full story.)

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Study Shows That Rosemary Is Indeed For Remembrance.

A study found that pupils working in a room with the aroma of rosemary, in the form of an essential oil, achieved 5% to 7% better results in memory tests. (Click on title for full story.)

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Curing Drug-Resistant Malaria With Plants

When the standard malaria medications failed to help 18 critically ill patients, the attending physician in a Congo clinic acted under the “compassionate use” doctrine and prescribed a not-yet-approved malaria therapy made only from the dried leaves of the Artemisia annua plant. In just five days, all 18 people fully recovered. This small but stunningly successful trial offers hope to address the growing problem of drug-resistant malaria. (Click on title for full story.)

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When Scientists Began Systematic Screening Of Plants To Fight Cancer

“If you look at the source of drugs used in cancer,” Newman says, “60-plus percent of them are either a natural product, a modified natural product, or depend upon what is known as a natural product pharmacophore”—in other words, a synthetic version of a natural molecule. Hartwell was “the leader” in organizing the discovery of natural products to fight cancer, Newman adds. “He was a prophet before his time. Prior to that, nobody had really looked.” (Click on title for full story.)

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New Sleep Aid Isolated From Ancient Herbal Remedy

Can’t sleep? Your sleep problems may be improved if you try an Indian herb, Ashwagandha. Researchers in the sleep institute in Japan found that an active component of Ashwagandha leaves significantly induces sleep. (Click on title for full story.)

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Spinach Leaves Used To Mend Damaged Human Hearts?

In a series of experiments, the team cultured beating human heart cells on spinach leaves that were stripped of plant cells. They flowed fluids and microbeads similar in size to human blood cells through the spinach vasculature, and they seeded the spinach veins with human cells that line blood vessels. These proof-of-concept studies open the door to using multiple spinach leaves to grow layers of healthy heart muscle to treat heart attack patients. (Click on title for full story.)