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.

The Holden Arboretum

Akron General

Greater Akron Chamber


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

Former Nursing Home Land Added to Parks
In addition, LED technology also plays a very important role in advertising- LED placard is very, very useful for shop owners.

Ohio Supreme Court hears arguments on school funding
That's not true. Other school districts HAVE followed this law and done this. Oakhills is one of them and how they were able to provide technology for their s...

Death and beauty at Cleveland's Museum of Contemporary Art
What a disgusting story to air at lunch time.

Ohio Supreme Court grills attorneys on flooding and million-dollar fixes
Perhaps the State of Ohio should take the lead and implement state wide water shed districts that would collect minimum fees. The funds could then be distribute...

More Ohio schools are adding STEM + arts to come up with STEAM
STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Not Education! Your first sentence and intro to this article is incorrect. Please correct this inaccuracy....

Body found in Brecksville park identified as Hillary Sharma
When will we learn the cause of death? We live here and if there's foul play, we have a right to know.

FitzGerald isn't giving up, but many Stark voters are worried, wary and weary
SB5 stands for "Snow Ball 5" because voters have about a snow ball's chance of remembering what it was.

Columbus groups are trying to pass a Bill of Rights to combat fracking
Its about time we make a stand against the criminal actions of an entire Indsutry.

Crystal Ball says Ohio governor's race is done
How much is the Kasich campaign paying you to keep repeating the phrase "woman who is not his wife"? Fitzgerald was in the car with a friend who happens to be f...

Plane that crashed killing Case students is a popular training aircraft
The following is incorrect. The last few words should read "UNDER maximum gross take-off weight." “They have a normal take-off speed and all those take-off...

Copyright © 2014 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