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Volume X, issue 2

Foraging - Mallows
Foraging Rules
Travel Feature: Hiking in France
Preserving the Harvest
IK: Medicinal Uses of Spices (part II)
The Real Witches Garden

Welcome to the Sacred Earth Newsletter

Happy Summer!

elder (81K)Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope you are having a wonderful time enjoying the summer! For me, summer is always a busy time. Apart from all the socializing and hiking (not to mention taking care of every day business), there are also new herbal and wild food concoctions to experiment with, and old favourite stand-bys to stock up on. Honestly, I don't know what I enjoy more - using or making all these goodies...Sure, it is a lot of work, but sooooo worthwhile. Not least because it puts me in touch with the seasons and the place I currently call home in a very tangible way.

Right now we are entering Elderberry season and I am preparing to get busy again making syrups and elixirs. As I reflect on their many healing virtues I am profoundly grateful to them and all my plant friends for being there, for lending us strength and for fortifying us through the coming winter months.

Alas, it is still supposed to be summer!
Yet, these late summer days always have a touch of bitter-sweetness about them. Even while the sun is still infusing fruits and berries with its sweetness, the first tinges of yellow and scarlet are starting to appear in the leaves, signalling the immanent turning of the tides. The wheel of time keeps turning. But as I get older I find that I am more able to appreciate each season for its unique and distinctive gifts. The key to happiness is to be able to savour each season and its gifts to the fullest, while they last.

But, enough of my pontifications for now!
Enjoy the rest of the summer to the fullest. I hope you'll enjoy this issue and I'll see you all in the fall.
Green Blessings

August, 2010

P.S. Just a brief note to say 'thank you!' to all of you who joined me at our Sacred Earth Facebook page. It is a lot of fun to have a space where we can interact a little bit more directly. If you have not joined yet, please drop by and stay a while. There is a lot of stuff to explore.

You can now easily share this newsletter and all articles on this site with your friends on facebook whenever you see this button:

And, just to remind you - we now also have interactive discussion forums where members can discuss all matters concerning herbs, indigenous plant uses, or foraging topics. Drop by and join in - the more the merrier!

I would love to hear your comments, so please send your feedback to:


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Malva sylvestris (59K)Foraging Mallows


In the middle of summer a beautiful, dainty pink flower appears by the wayside. This lovely blossom could easily deserve a place in our gardens, but its more glamorous sister has laid claim to that place of honor, while this Cinderella herb remains largely unrecognized. No wonder its Latin byname is 'neglecta'. I am talking about Malva, the common mallow, cousin of Marsh Mallow (Althea officinalis), widely admired as an healing herb and source of a sweet by the same name, which is characterized by a uniquly squishy consistency reminiscent of packaging foam. However, commercial variants of this confection do not necessarily contain any natural constituents of the Marsh Mallow plant.

Just as numerous cultivated species of this family, both, Malva neglecta, and its close sister, Malva sylvestris can also be used for food and medicine. All species of Mallow have a certain quality in common, which I personally do not greatly care for, at least not as a texture for my food. Mallows are moist by nature and their consistency is always somewhat slimy. Think Okra and you'll get the idea. However, there are people who pick the young leaves and add them to their salads, or mince them and prepare them as spinach. This mucilaginous quality has a somewhat laxative effect and you might find that instead of filling your tummy, you will be emptying it. Yet, this same mucilaginous property, which occurs most profusely in the roots, is also responsible for the healing virtues, the demulcent and emollient properties, which help to loosen an entrenched cough or soothe inflamed skin and mucous membranes.

Mallows, as a source of food, always seem to rouse very passionate and frequently opposing opinions - people either love it or hate it. A traditional Egyptian dish, a soup known as 'Melokhia ', is made with Corchorus olitorius, another species of the Malva family. This soup was apparently quite popular in ancient Egypt, and is still considered Egyptian 'soul food'. While in its basic peasant version it boasts few ingredients, and resembles pondweed soup, it has evolved in style and complexity in the hands of more sophisticated chefs. There are countless versions of this dish and perhaps it is the distant ancestor of the well familiar Louisiana style Gumbo, which is made with Okra, also a member of the Malva family.

Marshmallow - Althea officinalisIn the UK, children sometimes call Mallow 'cheeses', as one can, with a little imagination, see a certain resemblance between a round of cheese in miniature form and Mallow's little round, flattened seed pods, with its demarcated sections.

As a source of food Mallows may be an acquired taste, but they certainly deserve appreciation for their medicinal powers. The slimy constituents of Mallows, and particularly of Marsh Mallows, contains its most important healing properties, the soothing and moisturizing principles which have anti-inflammatory and demulcent actions. Mallow is very helpful for inflammations of the mucous membranes, for dry cough, irritated lung tissue or inflamation of the alimentary canal. It can also be used for inflammatory skin conditions and can make a good ingedient in home-made emmolient cosmetics and creams.

Recipes for cooking with Mallows


Make sure the mallow roots aren't moldy or too woody. Marshmallow gives off almost twice its own weight of mucilaginous gel when placed in water.

Make a tea of marshmallow roots by simmering in a pint of water for twenty to thirty minutes. Add additional water if it simmers down. Strain out the roots.

Heat the gum and marshmallow decoction (water) in a double boiler until they are dissolved together. Strain with pressure.

Stir in the sugar as quickly as possible. When dissolved, add the well beaten egg whites, stirring constantly, but take off the fire and continue to stir. Lay out on a flat surface. Let cool, and cut into smaller pieces.

Recipe from Dian Dincin Buchman 'Herbal Medicine'


Boil the meat, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper in 6 cups of water. Skim off the fat, then simmer for 2 hours. Take the meat out and cut into smaller chunks. Strain the stock.

Bring the stock back to a boil. Crush the leaves between your hands into the stock, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. (If you use fresh leaves you can soak them in water and squeeze out a couple of times to remove some of that slimy quality.)

Meanwhile, crush the remaining garlic with some salt and fry with the corianderit in the oil until it golden. Stir in the cayenne pepper. Set aside until the leaves are cooked.

When ready to serve, return the meat to the pot, stir in the spices, and let simmer for a few minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately--and pass the onions and tomatoes soaked in lemon juice on the side.

Planting the Future - One Seed at a Time



That all the earth is fragile and that we must not take from her beyond what she can sustain. Overharvesting, particularly due to commercial collection of medicinal plants has brought many once plentiful plant species to the brink of extinction. As 'plant people', we should adopt an attitude of green guardianship for mother earth, who so plentifully provides for us.

Here are the rules that every forager should live and breathe by:

Get to know the plants that grow around you on a personal, first name basis: familiarize yourself with the herbs, bushes and trees in your neighborhood, try to learn as much as possible about the ecosystem of which you are a part and the plant members of your 'extended family'. Learn to identify them correctly and investigate all their uses. Try to understand it as part of a larger ecosystem. Which animals like it or dislike it? With which other plants does it form communities? Is it native or invasive? Does it protect the ground or deplete it of any of its nutrients? How does it 'fit' into its environment? What can you learn from its chemistry? Building this kind of holistic knowledge base will give you a much deeper insight into the nature of a plant and its role within the ecosystem. Its a lengthy process, but vital if you want to truly get to know your plant friends and the habitat you share.

It is especially important that you learn to identify the poisonous plants you are likely to encounter, lest they inadvertently end up on your dinner plate, which could be most unpleasant or in the worst case scenario, even lethal. The importance of this point is completely obvious, but cannot be stressed enough. Some people hold the false and dangerous belief that what can be found in nature cannot harm them. DO NOT EAT ANYTHING YOU CANNOT POSITIVELY IDENTIFY AND DEEM SAFE. When you think you know a plant, think again and see what other, non-edible look-alikes might be fooling you. This is even more important when it comes to collecting mushrooms, as there are many poisonous mushrooms out there that have evolved to be masters at deceiving unsuspecting mushroom hunters. There are also many more potentially deadly mushrooms with edible look-alikes than there are deadly plants with edible look-alikes.

Don't be greedy!

Familiarize yourself with the plants that are listed on the endangered species list for your area. Apart from being unethical, it is also highly illegal to pick endangered plant species. Instead of taking rare plants, consider sowing their seeds in the wild.

Only pick as much as you need and never take ALL the plants of any one kind in a given patch. After harvesting an area give the plants plenty of time to recover before returning to the same patch. Be especially conscientious when it comes to harvesting roots and barks. Remember that often harvesting roots means the death of the plant, so before you start digging ask yourself if this plant is really plentiful and if it can sustain a harvest of its roots. If in doubt, don't collect. Consider growing some in your garden rather than depleting natural stands. Collecting barks can also be fatal to a tree. If you must collect this part, try to collect it from smaller branches rather than the stem, from branches that have fallen, or from trees that are due to be cut for other purposes.

However tempting it may look, never pick in places that are subject to pollution from roads, industry or heavy spraying of farm chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers etc.). And don't collect from nature reserves either - these are areas set up to protect wild species, so give them their space and let them be!

Cast seeds of native species to the earth and to the winds once in a while - as a way of giving something back. Consider adopting a little patch that you are particularly fond of. When you are out and about, never leave any litter behind, but try to bring some back with you - I always carry two bags, one for foraging and one for litter picking. Give thanks to the plants and to Mother Earth who has provided them.

In Association with
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waste not want not

preserving the harvest

Not too long ago, gardening and producing one's own food was considered tedious and old fashioned work, something that belonged to the domain of Grandmothers and country bumpkins. Why should you bother with all that hard work if all you need to do is go down to the grocery store and buy what you need?

But slowly, covertly almost, the trend has changed. With food prices soaring thanks to climate change, GM technology and an ever growing range of agrochemicals that have crept into our food supplies, increasing numbers of people feel an urge to produce at least some, if not all their food in their own gardens to achieve some degree of independent food security. But, unless one lives in a tropical climate where foods grow all year round, one is faced with the problem of 'feast or famine' - plentiful harvests during the growing season, followed by nothing much during the winter months. Anyone who grows some or all of their own food knows the problem - how to preserve this abundance for later, so when winter comes and nothing grows one can still enjoy the fruits of the previous season's labor. What delight it will be then to have tasty reminders of the summer's plenty.

And, what's more, gathering together with family and friends to get into a 'yes, we can'- action' or a 'jam session' is a wonderful way to share stories, teach the young and have some fun.

These days freezing is usually considered the easiest and quickest method of preserving anything. And it certainly is convenient - if you have a very large freezer. However, it is not a particularly energy efficient method and nor is it particularly reliable. Power cuts occur with worrying frequency and they can be absolutely disastrous for anything that is stored in the freezer unless you have an independent back-up power supply.

But the problem of preserving food is as age-old as the history of agriculture - approximately 10 000 years, or more. How did people manage to store things for the winter before electricity came along, about 100 years ago? We have almost forgotten the many ingenious ways to preserve foods which our ancestors developed over the course of countless generations.

There are many, many ways to preserve foods, though not all are equally suitable for all types of foods and vegetables. To begin with it is helpful to consider each type of food or vegetable according to its mode of growing. The natural life cycle starts with germination. For some time a plant develops and grows until it reaches its peak, a process referred to as maturation. This is usually the stage at which we harvest. From there on the plant begins to decay.

No process of conservation can halt this natural cycle of growth and decay, it can only slow it down or in some ways, progress it. To find the most appropriate method for each type of vegetable or fruit it is helpful to consider its mode of growth. The aim of course is to preserve as much of the mineral and vitamin content of a given fruit or vegetable as possible.

Read the full article


What does water have to do with ethnobotany? Nothing, at all really, except that water is the essence of life. Without it this planet would be as dead as a speckle of space dust - no plants, no animals and certainly no humans. Life originated in the oceans and only gradually adapted to higher and drier grounds, yet no living organism has ever lost its connection and dependency on this quintessential element of life. Without water life shrivels up and dies. Even the hardiest of desert dwelling organisms need water to survive such extreme conditionseven, if only in miniscule amounts. They managed to adapt by developing special water storage structures and thick protective skin that prevents them from drying up.

stream (122K) Without water seeds could not germinate and nothing could grow. Water is the lifeblood of the planet. It acts as a matrix for nutrients, plays a key role in the process of photosynthesis, which transforms sunlight into a form of energy that all living things can utilize. Water also cleanses and detoxifies. Water is continuously recycled. Its cycle is intricately linked to the carbon cycle and both are connected to plants, most importantly, to trees.

Most of the water on our planet is contained in the oceans. Only a small fraction is fresh water and most of that is stored in the polar ice caps. Fresh water and ocean water are tied in a constant exchange as rivers run towards the oceans and oceans continually evaporate to form clouds, which eventually rain off over the land. However, apparently most of that rain falls within 150 miles of the shore.

What makes rain fall further in land? Trees 'attract' rain and coastal forests play a key role. Trees, by means of their foliage and trunks reduce the impact of the rainwater falling on the ground. Thus rainwater that has been 'captured and harnessed' by trees and plants can actually be absorbed by the soil rather than pounding the earth and washing away top soil as surface run off. Once in the ground the water is filtered and reaches the groundwater. Here again, trees play a key role in pumping it up again, utilizing it in the process of photosynthesis and evaporating it back into the atmosphere, where it again can form clouds that are carried inland and can rain off somewhere else. Trees also prevent erosion, which in turn binds top soil, thus preventing it from getting washed into the sea or rivers.

water pollution (57K)Water has been much on everybody's mind recently: The oil disaster in the Gulf that has polluted not just a vast swathe of the ocean and all the life within it, but also wreaked havoc on the lives of those who in turn depended on that marine life. In Europe and North America there have been intense heat waves, endangering crops and wildlife. In China, India and Pakistan on the other hand there has been so much rain that hundreds of people have died in floods and dams threatened to break.

Water is always on our minds, whether there is too much or not enough of it. Just recently, on July 28th, 2010, after many years of contentious debate, the UN has declared access to clean water and adequate sanitation 'a human right', because of its fundamental importance to all other human activity. However, sadly, the notion was not universally supported. Notable the US, Canada and Britain, Australia and 37 other countries abstained.

It is insupportable that in the 21st century there are still almost 900 million people in the world today who do not have access to clean drinking water and more than double that number who do not have adequate sanitation, which of course has a direct impact on health in those regions: 2 million people, mostly children, die every year due to causes that are directly or indirectly related to not having access to clean water. This is quite unacceptable, though I am not convinced that declaring it 'a human right' will do much to change the situation. At least, perhaps, it will focus attention on the problem and raise awareness.

Personally, I would be happier to call it 'a human responsibility'. We should not be tempted to look at this problem from only this one distressing angle. Yes, access to clean drinking water for all would immediately help to reduce a whole host of problems, especially health and poverty related problems in the poorest countries. But this is not the whole story.

Rights and responsibility are two sides of the same coin. In this case the right to clean water and sanitation implies the responsibility of stewardship. If people across the globe feel that clean water is a fundamental right, we all, and I mean EVERYBODY, must become a steward of our water resources. This means that we must stop polluting it, stop wasting it and that we must consider the big picture in ecological terms and tackle the most fundamental root problems that threaten the sustainability of our water supply: climate change and deforestation.

desert (46K)Deforestation is a significant factor in the complex processes that are causing the current climate change. As we have seen, trees not only absorb CO2 and thus act as carbon sinks, but they also play a significant role in affecting patterns of rainfall. Deforestation ultimately creates deserts - a more or less waterless environment - whether we claim water as a human right or not. Stewardship and holistic strategies that take the big picture into account are the only way forward that has any chance of creating sustainable solutions to the grave dilemmas we are facing now - not to mention those that will be faced by future generations, should we fail to adopt this approach now.

Further Reading:

Climate Institute: Water
Climate Lab Permaculture and Sanity: Trees and the Water Cycle
Acience Blog The water cycle Trees attract Rain
UN General Assembly declares access to clean water a human right

And, some more food for thought from the guys over at 'the story of stuff' project: The Truth About Bottled Water

Eco-Travel Feature:

Hiking in France (4K)

perepertuse, France (45K)Between the rugged limestone crests of the Corbiere Mountains and the snow-capped Pyrennees lies a landscape drenched in turbulent history, which still reverberates with the echoes of the past. Ancient Cathar Castles perched on inaccessible hill tops, imposing fortresses and Abbey ruins, medieval cities like Carcassone or Minervois and picturesque vineyards climbing up the rocky hills in every direction.

The Pyrenees in Southern France is one of the most romantic and fascinating landscapes of Europe. Rich in nature, culture and cuisine - discovering all this on foot is a dream.

There are many ancient trails that criss-cross the landscape, some dating back to Roman times, or perhaps even beyond. Each tells a different gripping story of times gone by and it is easy to see them come alive in the remnants that still characterize this region today.

roman bridge FranceA hiking trip in Europe is a fascinating and wonderful way to experience the land and the people, get to know them as close-up as you can get. But if I was to pick my favourite region for such a trip, the Pyrenees Oriental, 'French Catalonia' as it is known as locally, would take first place on my list. The entire Pyrenees Mountain range is a hiker's paradise, but for the early fall and even into November the Corbieres and Fenouilledes, the foothills of the Pyrenees on the mediterranean side are ideal because of the ideal weather conditions at this time of the year. And not ony that, but fall is also the time of the 'vendange' - the vine harvest, a wonderfully festive season to witness.

Are you ready for a completely new and different experience? Read more:

Cathar Trail part 1
Cathar Trail part 2

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Preserving the Traditional Knowledge of Tribal People in Patalkot - an Interview with Dr. Deepak Acharya

Patalkot valley IndiaSomewhere, hidden deep within the heart of the Chhindwara district in Madhya Pradesh, lies Patalkot, a verdant valley that seems to exist within its own time and space. About 3000 tribal people live here in small villages that are scattered throughout the valley. Until recently few outsiders ever knew this place existed. But now the modern age is encroaching even on this hidden corner, and with it comes the threat of deforestation, which ultimately will undermine the basis of human existence in this fragile ecosystem. So far people have managed to live in harmony with the earth, but with commercial logging moving in that balance can no longer be maintained. Yet, there are few opportunities. The government in Delhi is far away and has no time or concern for the pleas of a handful of tribals. The future of Patalkot hangs in a precarious balance and the scales can be tipped either way.

Dr. Deepak Acharya is an ambassador for the tribals and their pleas. He has dedicated himself to helping to preserve their heritage and lifestyle by means of an independent charity. He also seeks to make the unique knowledge of the tribal people better known. You can visit the website of Abhumka to learn more about Patalkot and the traditional tribal uses of plants.


Medicinal Uses of Some Important Spices by the Indigenous Tribesmen in India, Dr Deepak Acharya, Dr Anshu Shrivastava

by Dr Deepak Acharya and Dr Anshu Shrivastava

In the last two articles of this series, we have discussed the medicinal uses and indigenous knowledge of 10 Indian spices i.e. Onion, Garlic, Coriander, Cumin, Mango Ginger, Turmeric, Cardamom, Fennel, Kokum and Curry Leaf Tree. In this issue, we share information about Nutmeg, Long Pepper, Black Pepper, Pomegranate and Chiretta.

Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)

Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans Houtt.)

A decoction of the arillus part (mace) of the plant has an aphrodisiac effect (Simpson, 1962) and is also reported as anti-pyretic (Mokkhasmit et al., 1971). The plant extract is used as an abortifacient (Saha et al., 1961). A decoction of dried leaves is used to treat high blood pressure (Lim, 1977) and as a hallucinogen (Siegel, 1976). The dried fruit acts as a digestive aid and is effective against pimples, eczema (Singh, 1986), diarrhea (Gupta et al., 1993), stomach ache and ulcers (Coee and Anderson 1996). The seeds are also known as a good aphrodisiacs (Salah Ahmed et al., 1979) and abortifacient (Lozoya, 1976). The seeds work as a tonic and digestive agent and are also reported to have curative properties in the treatment of hemorrhoids and piles (Bellakhdar et al., 1991). They are also known to relieve menorrhagic pain (Mendelsohn, 1907). A decoction of dried seeds acts carminative, digestive and expectorant (Arseculeratne et al., 1985).

Indigenous Formulations

Vitality, Vigor and Sperm Count
Tribesmen in the Dang district of Gujarat prepare a special formulation for vitality and vigor in men, which consists of a mixture of Nutmeg (3g), Musli (Chlorophytum borivillianum) root powder 4g, Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) seeds 1g, Almond (Prunus amygdalus) seed powder 2g and Cuddapah Almond (Buchanania lanzan). The mixture is roasted in butter. This blend is consumed twice a day after meals. According to local herbal healers, the this mixture improves vitality and vigor and provides a tonic support in cases of low sperm count.
The healers of Patalkot in Central India prepare a blend of Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) gum 4g, Nutmeg seeds 2g and Nutmeg bark powder 2g which is administered orally for the same purpose.
Male Impotency
For treating male impotency an equal amount (10g) of Nutmeg, Red Silk Cotton Tree (Bombax ceiba) bark, Indian Oleander (Nerium indicum) roots and Cardamom seeds are taken. The mixture is boiled in Mustard (Brassica campestris) oil (100ml). After some time the oil is filtered. Once the oil cools down, it should be applied externally over the genital region.
Hemorrhoids and Bleeding Piles
A mixture of Cardamom seeds 4g, Nutmeg 2g, Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora) 2g, Ironwood Tree (Mesua ferrea) bark powder 3g, Psyllium (Plantago ovata) husk 2g and butter (2g) are mixed with sugar. About 5g of this mixture should be taken three times a day along with lukewarm water.
To cure excessive urination, tribals of Central India prepare formulation consisting of Cardamom seeds (2 nos.) and Indian Kudzu (Pueraria tuberosa) rhizome powder 10g, which is fried in butter. To this mixture, Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) bud powder 1g, Nutmeg fruit powder 2g, Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) root powder 3g and Cinnamom bark powder 3g is added and given to the patient.
Equal amounts of Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) leaves, Nutmeg fruit, and Camphor are put in a mortar and crushed. About 10g of this mixture is taken along with two teaspoons of Betel leaf (Piper betel) juice. It is said to be very effective in alleviating excessive urination.
Dysentery and Cholera
Equal amounts (about 2g) of Poppy seeds (Papaver somniferum), Nutmeg fruit, Clove, Saffron (Crocus sativus), and Camphor is given to the patient everyday.

Read the full article or jump directly to
Black Pepper (Piper nigrum L.)
Long Pepper (Piper longum l:)
Chiretta (Swertia chirata (Roxb. ex Flem.) Karst.)
Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.)


Author's Profile

Dr_Deepak_Acharya (21K)

Dr Deepak Acharya (MSc PhD) is Director, Abhumka Herbal Pvt Limited. He can be reached at deepak at or deepak at For more information about him, please visit and

Dr Anshu Shrivastava (MSc PhD) is Botanist at Abhumka Herbal Pvt Limited, contact him at anshu at or ansh24 at

Dr_Anshu_Shrivasta (14K)

book_cover (17K)Acharya, D. and Shrivastava, A. 2008. Indigenous Herbal Medicines: Tribal Formulations and Traditional Herbal Practices. Aavishkar Publishers Distributors, Jaipur. ISBN 978-81-7910-252-7.


plant profile Moringa oleifera)


Moringa tree

Moringa oleifera Lam.



A fast growing subtropical tree native to the Himalayan foothills. Moringa can grow an astonishing 3 meters in only 10 month after the seed has been sown, though it generally rarely exceeds 10 meters in height, total, and is thus considered a tree of medium stature. With its feathery leaves and bean-like seed pods it is often mistaken for a legume species. The pods are slightly thickened on one end, which is why they are referred to as 'drum sticks'. Each pod contains 15-20 winged seeds. The tree branches freely and produces dark green feathery tripinnate leaves with elliptical leaflets. The flowers appear in bunches of smallish white or creamy flowers with a subtle fragrance. Moringa is the the only genus of the Moraginacae family, which has 13 species.

moringa flowers


Although native to a small, sub-Himalayan region of India, this tree has spread throughout the tropics and subtropics and is now cultivated in many parts of the world. It is highly adaptable and tolerant to even the most inhospitably arid conditions and poor soil. The only thing it does not tolerate is prolonged cold spells with temperatures falling below 20°C. It prefers well-draining soil and temperatures between 25°-30°C.


Although this tree is not very well-known in the western world, it is nonetheless one of the most important and universally useful plants of tropical and subtropical environments. Every part of this tree is useful for food, medicine or other, utilitarian purposes. Given its rapid growth and undemanding requirements there could hardly be a more worthy species deserving of a space in any tropical or subtropical environment.

Every part of the plant is edible - leaves, seeds, pods, flowers and even the roots, though some authority recommend against their use as food. (British colonists called this tree 'Horseradish root tree' for the distinct flavor of its roots, which were processed into a horseradish-like condiment). Moringa is extremely rich in essential nutrients such as vitamin A, C and E, calcium, potassium, iron and, perhaps most importantly, protein.

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The Real Witches Garden

Spells, Herbs, Plants and Magical Spaces outdoors

Kate West
178 pages

I was all excited when I received my review copy of The Real Witches Garden. I hoped for valuable insights into spiritual approaches to gardening and creating sacred spaces, or traditional gardening lore and a discussion of magical herbs and herbalism. Of course, I would not expect a scientific treatise or anthropological study, but, some substance, nevertheless. But I ended up not finding the book as useful as I had hoped. I have tried to put my finger on what exactly I felt was lacking. The author covers a lot of ground. I think my fundamental criticism of this book is that it is trying to be too many things to too many people. It is difficult to see who exactly it was written for, but it seems mostly to address those that are quite new to both, gardening and the Craft. I cannot imagine that an absolute novice of either art would buy this book, yet, there is even a glossary of the most rudimentary terms and a section about witchcraft in general. I would have thought 'A real witch' would be familiar with this basic terminology?

The book presents a healthy mixture of magical advice tempered with common sense, though sometimes it is rather overstating the obvious. There are some good ideas sprinkled in amongst it all, if one has the patience to sift through it all. Though I felt a little put off by the author's over emphasizing of common sense safety issues, as if the book was written for 8 - 15 year olds. Once upon a time this kind of tone on product labels was a laughing stock among self-respecting and self-responsible adults. It now seems to have insidiously crept into and invaded the public sphere to a worrying degree. I could write a book on this topic, but I shall restrain myself here...

Unfortunately, I can't say that this book really inspired me either for its gardening advice or for its magical guidance. But maybe a beginner at either craft might gain more from this book. One aspect in particular I felt was sadly missing was a discussion of the doctrine of signature and the magical uses of certain herbs in traditional Craft and herb lore. There is a brief mentioning of astrological gardening principles, but not enough to really be practical. Invocations and spells are spelled out in cookbook fashion. Associations of plants and various Deities, elementals or festivals are given without further explanation. There are separate chapters dedicated to the festivals, which include suggested rituals, practices and craft projects. In some ways this seems the most interesting part of the book, especially for those who want to interest children in the idea of magical gardening. For the novice who needs or wants everything spelled out this book may be useful, but personally I felt it to be too insubstantial. On a scale of 1 - 10, I would give it 3 stars.


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ethnobotany, agro forestry and NWFP news items

Agriculture and food systems unsustainable

Source: OurWorld 2.0, June 30, 2010

A landmark scientific assessment commissioned by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has confirmed that agriculture is having a monumental impact on earth's finite resources. According to the study, 38% of the world's total land area was used for agriculture in 2007 and agriculture is responsible for over 70% of global freshwater consumption. "The fact that the impacts of agricultural products came out so strongly in our report was quite surprising," says Professor Edgar G. Hertwich. The Norwegian University of Science and Technology professor is lead author of Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production: Priority Products and Materials, released in June 2010. The report was produced by the International Panel on Sustainable Resource Management, a body set up to provide independent and scientifically driven advice to the UN.

For full story, please see: Agriculture and food systems unsustainable

Seabuckthorn to green cold deserts in Himalayan states

Source: Bombay News.Net, 8 June, 2010

The cold deserts of the Indian Himalayas where the survival of many flora species is minimal may soon see massive plantations of seabuckthorn, a medicinally rich plant, in a move that is expected to help check soil erosion and benefit farmers economically. A long-term national policy aims to start seabuckthorn plantation in high-altitude areas of India spanning 75 000 km² in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. The policy has been prepared jointly by scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Palampur-based Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishwavidyalaya. "The Environment and Forests Ministry has decided to hold a meeting at the DRDO institute in Leh 25 June to formulate a plan of action in five Himalayan states," Virendra Singh, a senior seabuckthorn scientist at the Vishwavidyalaya said. "We have prepared a national policy on seabuckthorn development to address issues like soil erosion, environment conservation and integrated rural development of border areas by involving local communities in its plantation." He said the policy, with a 10-year and 30-year roadmap, had already been discussed with Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and he has decided to hold the meeting this month to chalk out a plan. "Seabuckthorn afforestation will not only help in the conservation of the Himalayas by checking soil erosion but its commercial cultivation will also be economically beneficial for farmers because of its medicinal properties." "Its extract is used for making life-saving drugs for cardiovascular diseases, ulcer and cancer," Singh said. The problem of soil erosion is acute in most rivers originating from the Himalayas like the Satlej, Indus and Chenab, especially during the rainy season, he said. Globally, some 40 countries have in the past 20 years joined the race for seabuckthorn development and its commercial utilization. "Huge chunks of barren land in possession of forest departments in the Himalayan states would also be used for seabuckthorn plantation and it would accelerate the ecological rehabilitation of degraded mountainous lands," Singh said. Aerial seeding, participation of the local communities in the programme and commercial utilization for the benefits of the farmers are among the issues to be discussed in finalizing the national plan, he added. Forest ministers of the five beneficiary Himalayan states along with officials, vice chancellors, directors and seabuckthorn experts of various research and development institutions have been invited for a 25 June meeting to formulate the seabuckthorn development plan. Vishwavidyalaya vice chancellor Tej Pratap said: "This project would bring a revolution in the rugged, cold and inhospitable Himalayan terrains."

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Australia: Potential cancer drug found in rainforest

Source: AFP 14 June 2010

A potential cancer drug developed from an Australian rainforest plant is set to progress to human trials after fighting off inoperable tumours in pets, the company behind it said Monday. Queensland firm QBiotics Ltd said its drug EBC-46, derived from the seeds of a tropical rainforest shrub, was ready to be tested on humans after successfully treating solid tumours in more than 100 dogs, cats and horses. "We've treated over 150 animals ... with a variety of tumours and we're prepared to move into human studies," chief executive Victoria Gordon told AFP. Dr Gordon said the results so far indicated the drug could work to counter a range of malignant growths, such as skin cancers, head and neck cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer. She said the drug works like a detonator inside tumours, prompting inactive beneficial white cells to begin to fight and destroy the cancer. The company has spent six years developing the drug since the previously unknown molecule in the native Australian plant blushwood (Hylandia dockrillii) was discovered, and hopes to raise enough funds to begin human trials in 2011. Gordon said the compound proves the value of retaining Australia's tropical rainforests. "The world's rainforests are an amazing biological resource which we need to conserve and cherish," she said in a statement. "Not only may they hold the secret to many new drugs, they are the home of more than half of all other species with which we share the planet." The Cancer Council Australia sounded a note of caution on the development, saying the company had not yet published its research. "We have yet to see the results of this research published in a scientific journal, where they would be subject to independent scientific scrutiny, which is useful in determining the rigour of the research," chief executive Ian Olver said in a statement. "While it is encouraging to see success in animals, this has not been a good predictor of success in humans,quot; Professor Olver said. "So, it is far too early to be able to class this as a breakthrough."

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Mexico: Environmental education to combat illegal wildlife trade and protect biodiversity

Source: Eco-Index Monthly Update, May 2010

Illegal wildlife trade is the third most lucrative illicit business in the world, earning more than US$20 billion. Due to its mega-diverse status and its proximity to the United States, Mexico's biodiversity and sovereignty are threatened by the illegal wildlife trade. Chihuahua is particularly vulnerable to this illicit activity because it harbours a vast number of species that traffickers seek, and it is used as an entry point for travel to the United States. Because of the rise of this environmental crime and a lack of enforcement capacity and environmental awareness, Colegio de Chihuahua has decided to address the issue by working with legislators and educators to learn about the illegal trade and find measures to prevent environmental crimes and protect the biodiversity of Chihuahua. The project is researching and developing databases of the species exploited in illegal wildlife trafficking to inform legislation to protect biodiversity and is preparing formal and informal educational materials for programs that promote local environmental stewardship. The objective is to develop a database of native and exotic flora and fauna that are at risk for illegal trade within the jurisdiction of Chihuahua or are transported over land through Chihuahua to the United States. Additionally, the project aims to: (1) characterize the legal framework of the illegal wildlife trade at global, national, and local levels to develop criteria to help the Congress of the State of Chihuahua to create legislation; (2) identify the coverage of topics related to biodiversity, protection, and illegal wildlife trade to be included in the environmental education program, part of Chihuahua's general education program, and in the public information material produced by authorities; and (3) develop educational material on illegal wildlife trade for the formal and informal environmental education programs.

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China, Nepal reach historic biodiversity agreement

Source: WWF, 9 June 2010

China and Nepal have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on environment and biodiversity conservation. The agreement was made between the State Forestry Administration of the People's Republic of China and the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation of the Government of Nepal. The WWF notes that this is a historic moment for both countries as their governments have joined hands for the first time to promote cooperation in the field of biodiversity conservation, management of forest resources and protection of wildlife. The two countries agreed to implement the obligations of international multilateral environmental agreements and conventions to protect the environment and conserve biodiversity.

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'Sustainable Tourism' contributes to the Millennium Development Goals

Source: Turbo News, 23 June 2010-06-25

With only five years left until the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the United Nations has launched the MDG Report 2010 calling for accelerated progress to reach the 2015 deadline. As the UN Specialized Agency for Tourism, UNWTO is firmly committed to fostering the tourism sector's contribution to development. Tourism accounts for 45 percent of the exports of services of least-developed countries and is a major job generator for many of the world's most vulnerable populations. Indeed, in 2009, emerging economies received 410 million international tourism arrivals, a 47 percent share of the global total, and US$306 billion in international tourism receipts, 36 percent of the global total. As such, the industry can play a significant role in the achievement of the MDGs, in particular MDG 1 - Eradication of Poverty, MDG 3 - Gender Equality, MDG 7 - Environmental Sustainability, and MDG 8 - Global Partnerships for Development. Maximizing tourism's contribution as a main driver of economic growth and development, UNWTO is currently implementing numerous programs to reduce poverty, fight gender inequality, and foster sustainable development. The Sustainable Tourism-Eliminating Poverty (ST-EP) is UNWTO's long-term program aimed at reducing poverty through developing and promoting sustainable forms of tourism. To date, UNWTO has implemented over 90 ST-EP projects in 31 countries. UNWTO is also actively involved in several projects funded by the MDG Achievement Fund, an international cooperation mechanism financed by the government of Spain to speed up progress towards the goals. The projects focus on areas such as the promotion of rural tourism to alleviate rural poverty and supporting the development of small tourism businesses. UNWTO is also actively promoting sustainable tourism, one that makes optimal use of environmental resources, maintains essential ecological processes, and conserves natural heritage and biodiversity, in the pursuit of MDG 7 - Environmental Sustainability. This year in particular, within the framework of the UN International Year for Biodiversity, World Tourism Day 2010 (WTD) will take place under the theme "Tourism and Biodiversity". Highlighting tourism's role in conserving biodiversity, WTD also raises awareness of how continued biodiversity loss hampers efforts to meet other MDGS, especially those related to poverty, hunger, and health.

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The imperatives for traditional medicine

Source:, 30 June 2010

Integrating modern and traditional medicine requires breaking down the legal and regulatory barriers that disadvantage the poor. Before the colonial age, medicine across the tropics was almost entirely confined to traditional remedies and practices tailored to local cultures and natural resources. Then the arrival of missionaries and colonialists in Asia, Africa and America brought modern scientific techniques and medicines that were used to serve the colonial imperative of promoting Christianity, commerce and "civilization." The introduction of modern medicine has certainly been successful on one level. The colonial powers were much more adept at controlling epidemics, deploying mass vaccination programmes against smallpox, for example, and removing tumours and cataracts. But colonial-era medicine has left another legacy - the marginalization and downgrading of traditional medicine. Colonial powers promoted their values over traditional practices, establishing modern medicine as officially superior. In many African countries, for example, herbalists were not forbidden to practice but they were largely considered inferior or ignored, and traditional divination, sorcery and witchcraft were outlawed. This marginalization of traditional medical practices was later reinforced through organized healthcare systems and hospitals built on developed country models, which have continued to dominate the health systems of all countries. But, in the race to meet the Millennium Development Goals, combat increasing drug resistance and tackle new diseases, traditional medicine is making a comeback. Governments, drug companies, researchers and international aid organizations increasingly recognize the value of traditional medicine and its practitioners - as a source of potential new blockbuster drugs and as alternative providers of primary healthcare. The WHO's Beijing Declaration in 2008 marked a milestone in acknowledging the need to integrate traditional medicine into national health systems. But achieving this is no easy task, not least because modern health systems are built on the legal and procedural frameworks inherited from the developed world. They may serve the purpose of advancing and propagating modern medicine but they are not necessarily conducive to promoting traditional practices. One example is the stringent intellectual property regime. It cannot easily cope with the traditional approach to medical knowledge, which is commonly owned and freely handed down through generations. The tightly defined tests for safety and efficacy that are a hallmark of drug regulation are another constraint. They have been developed to test standardized drugs at fixed dosages and rely on being able to identify active ingredients and provide easily reproducible results. But traditional medicines are inherently diverse, both in how they are formulated and dispensed. In Africa, according to South African drug development expert, Kelly Chibale, the first step must be to create a database and physical collection of natural products from traditional medicine. Modern methods of screening, assessment and preclinical pharmacology can then be applied to develop commercial products. If modern science can be used to explore traditional medicines, so too can it be used to reinforce the knowledge systems that support them. Antony Taubman, head of intellectual property at the World Trade Organization, argues that the latest information technologies are well suited to characterizing the local and cultural context of traditional medical knowledge and of preserving and transmitting it for use in modern practice. But integrating modern and traditional medicine extends beyond simply applying modern methods to ancient knowledge. Traditional medicine experts, Bhushan Patwardhan and colleagues, call for an integrative knowledge system that recognizes the epistemological differences between traditional medicine and modern science and establishes norms for cross-cultural interactions. The developing world has many examples that show that modern and traditional medicine need not clash - from Chinese hospitals that provide herbal therapy alongside conventional medicine to Ecuadorian clinics where modern general practitioners work alongside traditional "yachaks" (shamans). But for the two systems to work in greater harmony on a large scale, we need a global effort to break down the legal, regulatory and conceptual barriers that support the promotion of modern medicine at the expense of traditional practices. This means, for example, maintaining an active debate within the World Intellectual Property Organization about access and benefit sharing to ensure that the originators and custodians of traditional medicine get the respect, recognition and equitable share of the benefits they deserve. It also means building on the WHO's work to adapt systems of regulation, testing, training and licensing or certification with methodologies that suit traditional medicine. Integrating modern and traditional medicine is a major challenge. But, given the growing recognition of the limitations of modern medicine, it is one that the global community must rise to if we are to improve public health in the developing world

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Two South American Trees to obtain CITES listing

Source: Cropwatch Newsletter, June 2010

The Environment News Service reported on 19 March 2010 that two South American trees, over-exploited by essential oil traders for the perfumery and cosmetics market, will be listed under Appendix II, the 15th Conference of the Parties (CoP15) Meeting of the Convention in International Trade (CITES) in Doha, Quatar. Trade controls (international commercial trading strictly by CITES export or re-export permit only) were stated to apply within 90 days for Aniba rosaedora (Brazilian rosewood) proposed for listing by Brazil, which would apply to logs, sawn wood, veneer sheets, plywood, and the essential oil, but excluding finished products packaged and ready for retail trade, and for Bulnesia sarmientoi (holywood) from the Gran Chaco region of Central America (proposed for listing by Argentina). Bulnesia sarmientoi is the species from which guaiacwood oil, acetylated guaiacwood oil and guaiyl acetate are produced, and the Appendix II listing would apply to logs, sawn wood, veneer sheets, plywood, powder, and "extracts", but excluding finished products packaged and ready for retail trade. The CITES website posting now sets out the revised Appendix I,II and III species listings post the CoP 15 Meeting, and indicates that trade controls for these ingredients will enter force on 23 June 2010. In the EU, the annexes to Council Regulation EC 338/97 re: Protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein, are expected to be modified accordingly as well as in the US. Cropwatch has long drawn attention to the decline in the ecological status of rosewood trees in Brazil and many essential oil users, interested in the sustainability of ingredient use, have subsequently volunteered to stop purchasing the essential oil. Unfortunately there is always the unethical element of the trade which will carry on using unsustainable species up until the point at which it is actually illegal to do so, and possibly even after that. Cropwatch has previously named and shamed some major rosewood oil users, but they have seemed too set in their ways to take any notice of environmental arguments. The status of holywood (guaiacwood) trees in the Gran Chaco National Park which stretches across W. Paraguay, N. and N.E. Argentina and S.E. Bolivia was recently updated by Cropwatch in its Updated List of Threatened Aromatic Plants Used in the Aroma and Cosmetic Industries. Guaiacwood essential oil is actually a brownish paste melting at 45ºC, and up to now its acetylated derivatives have occupied an important place in the perfumer's palette. But will these listings really make any real difference? A CITES Appendix I listing would have been far more effective, especially in the case of the rosewood tree, whose survival has been much more in the hands of the lawless loggers than anything else. Rosewood oil from unlicensed stills deep in the forest continues to find its way into the essential oils market, although some imported batches show unusual compositions, suggesting adulteration prompting queries about the species it was sourced from, or if it is 100 percent derived from the named botanical species as stated. As for guaiacwood, there is some confusion over the legal definition of the term "extracts". Will guaiacwood oil from Paraguay continue to be legally available with the correct documentation and permits, or is it just Argentinean origins which will become unavailable? Time will tell, but these CITES listings are, at least, a step in the right direction.

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Moringa oleifera: Poor missing out on moringa seeds' water-purifying powers

Source:, 24 March 2010

Seeds from a tree that grows widely across the developing world could play a key role in water purification - but there is lack of awareness about this application despite a long indigenous history, say researchers. The Moringa tree - Moringa oleifera - is native to North India but is also found in Indonesia, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa, and is used in many communities mostly for food and folk medicine. But adding crushed Moringa seeds to water can cut the time taken for bacteria and solids to settle from a full day to just one hour, and has potential for preventing diarrhoea, according to Michael Lea of Clearinghouse, a Canadian organization that investigates low-cost water purification technologies. Lea has published a step-by-step procedure online that shows how the seeds can be crushed to produce a natural flocculant - a substance that aggregates suspended particles. He hopes that making the technique freely available in this way will facilitate dissemination to those who need it the most - the role of the seeds in purification has been known for centuries but use has been limited. Writing in Current Protocols in Microbiology, he said that the seeds can provide a low-cost, accessible purification method for poor communities where diarrhoea caused by water-borne bacteria is the biggest killer of children aged five and under. Lea noted that the seeds "should not be regarded as a panacea for reducing the high incidence of waterborne diseases" - an additional disinfection process is recommended - but can make a valuable contribution to disease reduction. "Parts of the world have mobile phone and Internet services but no food and potable water," Lea told SciDev.Net. "These trees are indigenous so the solution is in people's backyards. What is required now is knowledge dissemination. "M. oleifera is the only indigenous treatment technology that addresses poverty and nutrition while also providing potable water." Lea said that superstition has sometimes limited its use. For instance, in one area of Africa, more than three Moringa trees in a backyard is seen as a source of misfortune that brings poverty and death. Vallantino Emongor, a M. oleifera expert at the University of Botswana, said: "What is exciting is that this tree is drought resistant and is accessible throughout Africa and India. Communities need to learn what the seeds can do." Some countries, including Burkina Faso, Benin, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, have formed associations to facilitate this.

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Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana): EU could approve stevia sweetener by 2011

Source: Reuters, 16 April 2010

Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana), a natural sweetener derived from the sunflower plant, could receive European Union-wide approval for use in food by next year, the EU executive said on Friday. The European Commission and EU countries will begin discussing whether to authorise stevia in the coming weeks, after an opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on Wednesday said that it was safe for human consumption. "If everything goes on track, adoption could happen next year," a spokesman for EU Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli said in a statement on Friday. The Commission will "take note" of EFSA's warning that its "acceptable daily intake" level of 4 milligrams per kg of body weight set for stevia could be exceeded by both adults and children if the sweetener is used at the maximum levels proposed by its makers. The value of the global sweetener market was estimated at about US$58.3 billion in 2009. The current global stevia market is worth about US$500 million, but is expected to reach US$2 billion by the end of 2011.

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Wattle (Australian acacias) comes to Africa

Source:, 9 April 2010

A traditional Aboriginal food has become part of the staple diet of African Communities. The seeds of Australian acacias, commonly called wattles, are tasty, high in protein (25 percent) and carbohydrates (40 percent), and easily made into flour. In the African country of Niger, it has become a local legend. Wattle seeds are used in over 40 local dishes. In Niger villages consumers say that eating acacia increases strength, improves eyesight, cures night blindness and stimulates milk let down in new mothers. Since the global food crisis of 2008, a heightened sense of urgency has driven the search for better sources of nutrition. Following a famine in 1984, the Christian organization Serving in Mission (SIM) began a concerted effort to promote acacia growing in Niger. Acacia seeds became popular in Niger. Between 2006 and 2009, over 50 000 acacia trees were planted on 480 farms in 33 villages and more trees are being planted each year. World Vision is now promoting wattle seeds in Senegal, Mali and Chad. Many of these acacia projects have been funded through child sponsorship from World Vision Australia.

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Peru: Rainforest vine may yield drug treatment medication

Source:, 5 April 2010

Researchers are studying a plant called ayahuasca, and chacruna from the Peruvian rain forest that may one day treat a variety of ailments, including drug addiction according to Voice of America. Ayahuasca or Banisteriopsis caapi, has long been used in religious rituals by shamans to induce visions, and as medicine in South America. Also known as "vine of the dead," or "soul vine," ayahuasca is combined with chacruna to obtain the active ingredients that produce its psychological, and physiological effects. Dr. Charles Grob, Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at UCLA School of Medicine stated the plant combination is, "...a very sophisticated form of pharmacology, which somehow the native peoples of the Amazon region have figured out. Ayahuasca is generally a decoction of two plants. Each plant if taken separately has no effects on the human central nervous system, but when taken together there's a very powerful synergy." The ingredients that are produced in the brew are DMT, a chemical similar to serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain, "...known to influence the functioning of the cardiovascular, renal, immune, and gastrointestinal systems," and, "...been found to be partly responsible for certain manifestations of schizophrenia, depression, compulsive disorders and learning problems," according to Healthscout. Dr. Grob also says that one advantage is that is does not appear to be addictive, and that no tolerance builds. The brew also appear to be anti-parasitic, and been found to reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Unfortunately, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has classified the active ingredient in ayahuasca as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning that it is both illegal, and has no medical uses in America. Research on this drug is carried out in South America.

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August 29 - September 2, 2010:

58th International Congress & Annual Meeting of the Society for Medicinal Plant & Natural Product Research. Henry-Ford-Bau, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

The specific objectives of this conference will be to promote dialogue and the exchange of medical practices and resources of modern and traditional nations.

Topics include:

For more information, please visit the website:

September 30 - October 3, 2010:

2010 AHG National Symposium.

More information is available at:

September 18-22, 2010:

AAIC 22nd Annual Meeting - 2010 New Crops: Exploring Diversity, Preserving our Future. Hilton Hotel, Fort Collins, CO, USA.

The Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops will hold its 22nd annual meeting. Topics include: oilseeds, bioenergy crops, natural rubber and resin crops, medicinal and nutraceutical plants, fibers and cellulosics, and more.

More information is available at:


Hilton Hotel
425 West Prospect Rd.
Fort Collins, CO 80526-2064
United States

September 20-25, 2010:

11th Congress of the International Society of Ethnopharmacology (ISE 2010) Continuity & Change in Ethnopharmacology: Transdisciplinary Science for Our Future. Albacete (Castilla-La Mancha), Spain.

It gives us great pleasure to invite you to the 11th Congress of the International Society for Ethnopharmacology and the Ier Encuentro Hispano Portugués de Etnobiología to be held from September 20 to September 25, 2010 in Albacete (Castilla-La Mancha, Spain). This joint conference will certainly be one of the most exciting and prestigious international events in the field of medicinal plant sciences. Spain is a fascinating country that is full of vitality, cultural diversity and culinary delights. We trust that the dynamic and magical spirit of the small city of Albacete (Castilla-La Mancha) will provide a very stimulating milieu for scientific exchange amongst ethnopharmacologists, ethnobiologists and ethnobotanists from all over the world. We are certain that this event will offer exciting opportunities for exchanging the latest scientific news and for networking with colleagues.

The main themes of the congress are:

More information is available at:

September 24-26, 2010:

Green Nations Gathering. Rowe Conference Center, Rowe, MA, USA.

The Green Nations are communities of people who love Earth, respect all her beings and honor the interdependent diversity needed for peaceful, sustainable life. We are herbalists, gardeners, farmers, environmentalists, holistic healthcare providers, spiritual ecologists and earth stewards who gather to learn, inspire each other, network for the planet, play and renew our commitment to live in beauty and walk in harmony on Earth, our partner. Ours is a revolution of the heart, taking action to make the world a better place for life.

More information is available at:
or 413-339-4954.

September 24-25, 2010:

Smithsonian Botanical Symposium 2010: "Food For Thought: 21st Century Perspectives on Plants & People."

National Museum of Natural History and the U.S. Botanic Garden, Washington, D.C., USA.

People are dependent upon plants for food, clothing, medicine, fuel, and other necessities of life. Humans and plants have interacted for as long as humans have existed, but our relationship is not static. Since the advent of agriculture we have exerted evolutionary pressure on plants that are of importance to us. Indigenous and industrialized societies have interacted with plants in their environments and influenced not only crop plants, but also cultural landscapes. The Smithsonian Botanical Symposium, hosted by the Departments of Botany and Anthropology, will examine the 21st century transformation of the study of interactions between plants and people. The invited speakers will cover a wide range of topics: from the role molecular biology now has in elucidating crop domestication to the ways in which peoples across myriad ecosystems interact with specific plants and landscapes.

More information is available at:

September 30 - October 3, 2010:

2010 AHG National Symposium: The New American Herbalism: Exploring the Roots & Branches of Our Herbal Heritage & Bringing Theory Into Practice.

Hyatt Regency, Austin, TX, USA. Modern western herbal medicine is a synthesis of many traditions that creates a model for clinical understanding and practice. This conference will explore the roots of our tradition, the many branches, and will put theory into practice with clinically focused classes highlighting the fundamentals of herbalism ranging from community activism to physical assessment to formulation and clinical strategies. Herbalists of all levels will leave this conference with new clinical skills, an enhanced understanding of botanical medicines for their practices, and new inspiration for teaching and the business of botanical medicine.

More information is available at:

October 15-17, 2010:

2010 Bioneers Conference. Marin Center, San Rafael, CA, USA


The Bioneers Conference is a leading-edge forum presenting breakthrough solutions for people and planet—join us in San Rafael, California, October 15-17 (with intensives October 14 and 18), 2010. At this year's conference, social and scientific innovators focus on solutions inspired by nature and human ingenuity.

Join us at the 2010 Bioneers Conference to:

More information is available at:

October 4-10, 2010:

10th Latin American Botany Congress. La Serena, Chile.

For more information, please visit the website:

October 27 - 29, 2010:

International Conference on Current Trends in Medicinal Plant Research and Microbiological Applications, Alexandria, Egypt

The Egyptian Botanical Society and the Botany & Microbiology Department, Faculty of Science, Alexandria University are organizing an International Conference on trends in medicinal plant research and microbiological applications. The two main objectives of this conference are (1) Elucidating the recent research trends in the field of cultivation, safety control, diversity, conservation, biotechnology, cytogenetics and phytochemistry of medicinal plants; and (2) Revealing diversity of pathogenic microorganisms as well as industrial and marine microbiology. The Conference will tackle eleven major themes, including: (1) new aproaches in cultivation of medicinal plants; (2) safety control art of herbal medicine, (3) environmental stresses on medicinal plants and (4) ecology, diversity and conservation of medicinal plants, among others.

For more information, please contact:

Prof. Dr. Salama M. El-Darier
Tel: +2 0127430854
Fax: +2 033911794

June 4-8, 2011

Agroforestry: A profitable land Use, University of Georgia, USA

The 12th North American Agroforestry Conference, Agroforestry: A Profitable Land Use, will be held 4-8 June, 2011 with the Association of Temperate Agroforestry (AFTA). Dr. Dennis Garrity, Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre, will be a featured speaker during the opening plenary session. Recognized as the international leader in agroforestry research and development, the Centre promotes global recognition of the key role trees play on farms.

For more information, please contact:

Carla Wood, Conference Office Director
University of Georgia
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Athens Conference Office
202 Hoke Smith Building
Athens, GA 30602, USA
Phone: 706-583-0347


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