Category Archives: Plants & Medicine

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Cancer Patients Best Friend May Be Psychedelic Mushroom

A pair of randomized, blinded studies published Thursday in The Journal of Psychopharmacology provide the most robust evidence to date that a single dose of psilocybin can provide relief from the anxiety and gloom associated with cancer for at least six months. (Click on title for full story.)

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How Fresher Supermarket Bananas Led To A Treatment For Doomed Bats

I was standing there looking at a bucket of moldy bananas next to a bucket of bananas with no mold, If the bacterium could be so effective on fungi on bananas, could it have similar effects on fungus on bats? It was one of those leaps of thought in science that maybe only a grad student could make. (Click on title for full story.)

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Is The Solution To Antibiotic Resistance In Your Local Park?

In southern Italy, Quave discovered that healers use elmleaf blackberry to treat boils and abscesses. She gathered a few bags of blackberry roots, sliced and dried the samples, vacuum-sealed them in plastic bags and shipped them back to her lab in Atlanta, where her colleagues ground them to a powder in a mill and extracted organic molecules using various solvents. When they added different combinations of blackberry molecules to brothy wells of MRSA — a particularly antibiotic-resistant species of Staphylococcus bacteria — the botanical extracts did not kill the microbes as typical antibiotics do. Rather, they prevented the bacteria from forming slimy, intractable mats called biofilms, which allow them to adhere to living tissues and medical devices like catheters in hospitals. (Click on title for full story.)

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Could This Frightening Nettle Take Your Pain Away?

What particularly got Buenz’s scientific senses tingling in the bush was not the sting from the poisonous spines of the ongaonga but the numbing aftermath. It’s not common to get such an effect on the nervous system from a substance that is only applied to the skin. (Click on title for full story.)

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Enzyme From Carnivorous Plant May Help With Celiac Disease

In a few years’ time, people with celiac disease could take a pill containing these enzymes, which would allow them to fully break down gluten. (Click on title for full story.)

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Replacement Human Organs Grown From Plants?

Biomaterials engineers, who create stand-ins for our own body tissues, historically focus on animal species, like pigs, with organs similar to ours. Until now, the plant kingdom has been largely neglected, but it offers a vast variety of architectures, many of which can serve the needs of human physiology. It also offers an escape route from expensive, proprietary biomaterials: an open-source approach. (Click on titl for full story.)

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New Plant-derived Polio Vaccine Booster May Eliminate The Disease

Collaborating with researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Penn team developed an oral vaccine booster by manipulating plants to express a protein found in the polio virus. Tests with sera from immunized mice show that the booster confers immunity against all three serotypes of polio. (Click on title for full story.)

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Bio-pharming: Getting Plants To Produce Human Pharmaceuticals Isn’t Easy

Bio-pharming uses genetic modification to introduce genes coding for pharmaceutical proteins (e.g. antibodies, or when produced in plants; ‘plantibodies’) into plants, the plant will then produce these proteins as if they were its own – essentially acting as a protein factory. The plants are harvested, the pharma-protein extracted and purified to a level comparable to any other medicinal protein. (Click on title for full story.)

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Take Two Peonies And Call Me In The Morning

It has long been called the “King of Flowers” in China but now the tree peony could rule the waves as an alternative to fish oil. The native Chinese plant has seeds that can be squeezed to make the healthiest kind of cooking oil, according to a new study by Chinese scientists. (Click on title for full story.)

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Secret Glue Ivy Uses To Climb Could Save Our Lives

More than 130 years ago, Charles Darwin discovered that ivy’s sticking power is thanks to a thin yellow glue secreted from its roots. But since then, little has been known about how the adhesive works. (Click on title for full story.)