Category Archives: Plants & Medicine

New Drug Promise: Common Desert Shrub Produces Powerful Anti-Parasite Chemicals

Compounds produced by the creosote bush, a desert plant common to the Southwestern United States, exhibit potent anti-parasitic activity against the protozoa responsible for giardia infections and an amoeba that causes an often-lethal form of encephalitis. (Click on title for full story.)

New Technologies Could Turn Ancient Herbal Remedies Into Effective Drugs

We highlight several plant natural products that are either in the clinic or currently under active research and clinical development, with particular emphasis on their mechanisms of action. Recent efforts in developing modern multi-herb prescriptions through rigorous molecular-level investigations and standardized clinical trials are also discussed. Emerging technologies, such as genomics and synthetic biology, are enabling new ways for discovering and utilizing the medicinal properties of plants. We are entering an exciting era where the ancient wisdom distilled into the world’s traditional herbal medicines can be reinterpreted and exploited through the lens of modern science. (Click on title for full story.)

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Walnuts May Promote Micro-biota Health

“We found that walnuts in the diet increased the diversity of bacteria in the gut, and other non-related studies have associated less bacterial diversity with obesity and other diseases like inflammatory bowel disease,” (Click on title for full story.)

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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.)