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Medical Plants/Enthobotany/ Traditional Medicne. Mary Mulcahy Joyce V. Cadwallader BioQUEST 2008. Goals--JVC. Develop an interdisciplinary course on Medicinal Plants/Enthnobotany/Traditional Medicine Met general studies guideline of having two perspective involved in the class

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medical plants enthobotany traditional medicne

Medical Plants/Enthobotany/Traditional Medicne

Mary Mulcahy

Joyce V. Cadwallader

BioQUEST 2008

goals jvc
  • Develop an interdisciplinary course on Medicinal Plants/Enthnobotany/Traditional Medicine
    • Met general studies guideline of having two perspective involved in the class
      • Science (Biology)
      • Social Science (Culture)
goals mary
  • TITLE: Ethnobotany as a Hook to Generate Interest in Plant Research
  • Major Purpose of this Exercise:
  • To demonstrate to students through investigative, fun exercises the value of botanical knowledge & skills* in the discovery of new medicines.
goals mary4
  • *Partial definition of botanical knowledge & skills:
  • -how to identify plants in the field
  • -how to construct and understand laboratory tests for biological active compounds in plants
  • -how to comprehend the binomial classification system
  • -how to interpret evolutionary relationships among plants
goals mary5
  • -how to reconstruct phylogenies of plants
  • -how to describe the morphology of plants
  • -how to interpret molecular data on plants
  • -how people (including indigenous people, healers, shaman, and others) use plants
objectives for course jvc
Objectives for course--JVC
  • To understand the importance of plants materials as basis of therapy
  • To understand the indigenous people’s dependence on natural remedies
  • To increase awareness of the plant materials already in use as medicines
  • To investigate the cultural aspects of plants used as medicine.
  • To be able to identify, classify, preserve, and describe, research and investigate plant materials
  • The introduction to the course(s) would start with the documentary film, The Shaman’s Apprentice.
  • After the film, discussion of the film will take place.
  • Readings will be provided for different class periods and a selection of the following activities will be incorporated in the class.
  • Activity #1: Searching for biologically active compounds in plants
  • Activity #2: Case Study to Search for Bioactive Chemicals in a Simulated Plant Flora.
  • Activity #3:.Plant Diversity in Human Medicine
activities continued
Activities (continued)
  • Activity #4: Develop questionnaire to survey people about what they know about medicinal plants.
  • Activity #5: Collect, process, and mount an herbarium specimen of a plant on campus that has medicinal properties.
activities continued10
Activities continued
  • Activity #6: Student becomes expert in one traditional medicine and give a presentation on it which would include: picture and description of plant, uses, geographical distribution, active ingredients if known, and current status of research on the plants medicinal properties.
  • Activity #7: Case Study:
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case study
Case Study
  • It is 1916 in Kenya, East Africa. You have returned from delivering supplies to your husband and friends who are the forces (mainly English) who are fighting the German. You start to develop symptoms where you lose your balance and fall. You remember having a ….
  • Depending on the goals, i.e., which course, the assessments will differ.
  • For the Medicinal Plants course, one of the assessment is a college-wide assessment which must deal with a controversial issue which is explored from the two perspectives, science and social science--which will probably mean that economics of saving the plants will be involved.
  • Balick, M. and Cox, P. (1996) Plants, People, and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany. New York, N.Y.: Sceintific American Library.
  • Cherry, L. and Plotkin, M. 1998. The Shaman’s Apprentice: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest. Orlando, FL: Harcourt.
  • Ekunsanmi, Toye J. 2005. A Classroom Demonstration of Garlic Extract and Conventional Antibiotics' Antimicrobial Activity. Bioscene Vol. 31(Issue 3): pp. 4-9. Available at:
  • Ethnobotany: Evolution of a Discipline. 1995. Edited by R. E. Schultes and S. von Reis. Portland, OR: Dioscordies Press.
  • Procheş, Şerban; Wilson, John R.U.; Vamosi, Jana C.; Richardson, David M. 2008. Plant Diversity in the Human Diet: Weak Phylogenetic Signal Indicates Breadth. BioScience Vol. 58 (Number 2), pp. 151-159.
  • Simpson, B. and Conner, M. 1995. Economic Botany: Plants in Our World. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, Inc.
  • The Shaman’s Apprentice. 2001. Narrated by Susan Saradon. Miranda Smith Productions.