News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Don Drumm Studios

Meaden & Moore

Metro RTA


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Health and Medicine




Exploradio: The lore and science of herbal medicine
Medicinal herb lore has been passed down through the generations, but tradition tells us, you first need to get to know your plant
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
Both the flowers and berries of the elderberry have been used since prehistoric times as a tonic to treat respiratory ailments. The elderberry is the international herb of the year for 2013, but very few studies have been done to back-up the health properties of elderberry.
Courtesy of Bob Peterson, CC
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

For thousands of years, people have treated illnesses with herbs. And plants are still the source of dozens of modern pharmaceuticals. 

But many people are rediscovering traditional herbal medicine, taking extracts, capsules, and infusions to treat everything from arthritis to Alzheimer’s, often with little more than vague information to back up health claims.

In the first of a two-part Exploradio, WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair looks at bridging the gap between herbal lore and modern science, starting with two people who say we first need to get to know the plants themselves.

LISTEN: Exploradio herb lore and science

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:10)


The word drug comes from “drogue,” an Old French term describing barrels used to hold dried herbs.  For centuries, people relied on the drugs in herbs to treat diseases, knowledge passed down generation to generation.  The Herb Society of America is headquartered in Kirtland, Ohio. It’s a national organization that promotes herbs and funds scientific research on the history and uses of beneficial plants.

Katrinka Morgan is executive director of the Herb Society of America, and Karen Kennedy is in charge of education.

Elderberry: International Herb of the Year

We chat on the back porch of their historic headquarters, as light rain waters the herb garden. Karen Kennedy introduces the international herb of the year, the elderberry. It's been used since prehistoric times as a tonic for respiratory ailments. Both the flowers and berries are used. Flavonoids in elderberries have been shown to have anti-viral properties, but very few human clinical studies have been done.

The value of traditions
Herb lore is in the realm of tradition, sometimes backed-up by science. While the active ingredients of many herbs are known, translating effects in the lab to commercial use can be tricky. Herb cultivation often requires specific conditions that are difficult to up-scale. Concentrations of active ingredients can vary. Preparation, storage, and administration of herbal remedies are difficult to standardize.

Still, the Herb Society's Karen Kennedy believes in the potential value of the herbal tradition. She says, "if a plant has been used for hundreds of years for a particular ailment, across cultures, my guess is there's something there that's real."  

The health benefits of the whole plant
Herb Society director Katrinka Morgan laments the loss of herbal lore over the years, although she says pockets of knowledge are retained in the American Appalachians and traditional cultures around the world. She says people have always learned the usefulness of plants growing near them, the original 'localism.'

Kennedy says people need to learn about the whole plant in order to fully benefit from herbs, not just reduce them to a single chemical ingredient. She says it's important to literally "smell the roses," and experience the sight, scent, and touch of therapeutic plants, to have some "down time with your little green."

The Herb Society encourages the interest and cultivation of herbs and learning herb lore, but director Morgan warns that many herbs have drug interactions with medications that need to be monitored by your doctor. For example, the ancient benefits of elderberries come with a warning, the unripe berries are poisonous.

Next week on Exploradio we’ll continue bridging the gap between lore and science by delving into local research on the wonders of pomegranates.

(Click image for larger view.)

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook



Support for Exploradio
provided by:








Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio becomes first in the nation to dump PARCC testing
Best test to use for elementary schools is the old pre common core Iowa test of basic skills. This test measures apples to apples and tests the skills appropri...

Ohio is moving forward with new standardized tests
Mr Chow, Nice piece on testing. Should not Ohio go to an open bid process for the new assessment contract? Ohio has stayed with a "connected" DC non-profit fo...

The Surpreme Court gay-marriage decision plays out in Ohio Amish country
Keep in mind that the majority of the people residing in Holmes County are Amish, a church people who do not vote because they do not believe in governmental ru...

Akron council committee recommends Forney for its opening
Which committee member voted for Wilhite?

Nearly a dozen Cuyahoga gay couples get licenses to marry after the Supreme Court ruling
Presiding Judge Anthony J. Russo a graduate of Chanel High School and supposed member of St. Francis Parish in Gates Mills has just excommunicated himself. As ...

Canton Youth Symphony is named orchestra of the year
This is what makes CSO the hippest small town orchestra in America!

What can be expected if Ohio's tobacco taxes increase?
let's face it! The increase has little to do with smoking cessation

Rare Cleveland Indians photo from 1911 hits the auction block
Paddy Livingston, who cut his teeth on a Louisville Slugger in Kent, Ohio was one of the immortals that played in that game. He was the catcher. Ty Cobb actuall...

Nexus denies Green's request to relocate its planned gas pipeline
These people have so much power. Too much. They could care less about the people they leave when it is done. Spectra does not, and admits, they do not do the...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University