A new friend came over the other day, the only person I know personally IRL who knows more about ethnobotany than I do. (Not that I know a lot, but finding local people with even that level of shared knowledge is difficult.) We ate/tasted/smoked a lot of things, between his collection and mine. Not to get high, but just to experience those different plant spirits, even if just in trace amounts. (Although I did take one toke of weed–one–and was blazed for *hours*. I think some people just radiate planty vibes that can potentiate the effects of drugs consumed in their presence, and this guy was definitely like that.) Anyway, like I said, we both have substantial stashes of various things we’ve either foraged or grown or ordered from South America, and traded some stuff. Here are some of his yopo seeds and some anadenanthera colubrina seed powder. I’ll post more about these later, after I do a bit more research and conduct a more formal bioassay.

Antimicrobial assays of three native British plants used in Anglo-Saxon medicine for wound healing formulations in 10th century England 

By Frances Watkins, Barbara Pendry, Alberto Sanchez-Medina, Olivia Corcoran

Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 144, Issue 2 (2012)


Ethnopharmacological relevance

Three important Anglo-Saxon medical texts from the 10th century contain herbal formulations for over 250 plant species, many of which have yet to be evaluated for their phytochemical and/or pharmacological properties. In this study, three native British plants were selected to determine antimicrobial activity relevant to treating bacterial infections and wounds.

Materials and methods

Several preparations of Agrimonia eupatoria L., Arctium minus (Hill) Bernh. and Potentilla reptans L. were screened for antimicrobial activity against selected Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria of relevance in wounds using a 96 well plate microdilution method (200, 40 and 8 μg/mL). Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values were determined for the most potent extracts from 2 to 0.004 mg/mL and HPLC chromatograms examined by multivariate analysis. Principle components analysis (PCA) was used to identify chemical differences between antimicrobial activity of the crude extracts.


The HPLC–PCA score plots attributed HPLC peaks to the antimicrobial activity with all three plants inhibiting growth of Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus by >50% in four or more extracts. The first two principal components (PC) represented 87% of the dataset variance. The P. reptans 75% ethanol root extract exhibited the greatest range of activity with MIC50 at 31.25 μg/mL to a total MIC that was also the minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) at 1 mg/mL. Additionally, the root of P. reptans, inhibited growth of Gram-negative bacteria with the 75% ethanol extract having a MIC50 at 1 mg/mL against Pseudomonas aeruginosaand the decoction a MIC50 at 3.9 μg/mL against Escherichia coli.


The results indicate a moderate antimicrobial activity against common wound pathogens for P. reptanssuggesting it may well have been effective for treating wound and bacterial infections. Anglo-Saxon literary heritage may provide a credible basis for researching new antimicrobial formulations. Our approach encompassing advanced analytical technologies and chemometric models paves the way for systematic investigation of Anglo-Saxon medical literature for further therapeutic indications to uncover knowledge of native British plants, some of which are currently lost to modern Western herbal medicine.

Click here to read this article from the University of East London

See also this shorter article about this finding

Few countries in the world have a vertically integrated pharmaceutical industry, where a compound or a concentrate can be taken through the complex chemical and biological stages to a finished and approved pharmaceutical entity at the international level. And most of the world uses plant materials (largely in an unregulated and uncontrolled manner) as a primary source of health care. Health ministries should be asking whether there is long-term economic benefit to continuing the importation of refined natural products and synthetic drug compounds. Or is it possible to grow, extract, and standardize any of these materials for local consumption, using local expertise and technology, recognizing the possibility of an export market as the long term goal? Are there local issues which hinder such developments? Is it possible to produce medicinal plants for commerce and have standardization of traditional medicines? Will this strategy meet primary health care needs for most of the world 30 years from now? Is this a conscious improvement in health care for the majority of the world?

Cordell, G. A., & Colvard, M. D. (2005). Some thoughts on the future of ethnopharmacology. Journal of ethnopharmacology100(1), 5-14.

Enjoying my class readings for once!

Of course this class isn’t in the social work department, I had to go to another department to find a class that had actual graduate-level texts.

In the fourth month specimens the formation of blood vessels inside the grafted plant tissue was observed.

Lozoya, X., Madrazo, I., Guizar, G., Villarreal, M. L., Grijalva, I., Salgado, H., … & Rodríguez-Mendiola, M. A. (1995). Survival of cultured plant cells grafted into the subcutaneous tissue of rats (preliminary report). Archives of medical research26(1), 85.


is it time

is he coming

Patchouli oil was capable of maintaining skin structural integrity caused by UV irradiation and it was useful in preventing photoaging.

PMID:  J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Jun 11 ;154(2):408-18. Epub 2014 Apr 18. PMID: 24747030 Abstract Title:  Prevention of UV radiation-induced cutaneous photoaging in mice by topical administration of patchouli oil. Abstract:  ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Pogostemon cablin has been widely used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of many diseases, including skin disorders. In the skin beauty and care prescriptions, Pogostemon cablin is one of the top ten frequently used traditional Chinese medicines.AIM OF THE STUDY: The present study was aimed to investigate the protective effects of the essential oil of Pogostemon cablin (patchouli oil, PO) against UV-induced skin photoaging in mice.MATERIALS AND METHODS: To ensure the quality of PO, the chemical compositions of PO were identified, and the content of its chemical marker patchouli alcohol was determined, which was around 28.2% (g/g) in PO. During the experiment period, the dorsal depilated skin of mice was treated with PO for two hours prior to UV irradiation. Then the protective effects of PO on UV-induced skin photoaging were determined by macroscopic and histological evaluations, skin elastic test, collagen content determination and biochemical assays of malondiaidehyde (MDA) content, activities of anti-oxidative indicators including superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), and catalase (CAT).RESULTS: Compared to UV exposure groups, present results showed that topical administration of PO, especially at dose of 6mg/mouse and 9mg/mouse, significantly inhibited the increase in skin wrinkle formation, alleviated the reduction in skin elasticity and increased the collagen content by about 21.9% and 26.3%, respectively. We also found that application of 6-9mg/mouse PO could not only decrease the epidermal thickness by about 32.6%, but also prevent the UV-induced disruption of collagen fibers and elastic fibers. Furthermore, the content of MDA was decreased by almost 26.5% and activities of SOD, GSH-Px and CAT were significantly up-regulated after the treatment of PO.CONCLUSION: Results of present study revealed that PO was capable of maintaining skin structural integrity caused by UV irradiation and it was useful in preventing photoaging. These protective effects of PO were possibly due to its anti-oxidative property. Therefore, we suggested that PO should be viewed as a potential therapeutic agent for preventing photoaging.