Herbal Medicine

All Choked Up: Harvesting the Health Benefits of Artichokes

By Sally LaMont, ND, LAc, Contributing Writer

Artichokes are the edible flower buds of a thistle plant called Cynara scolymus. The botanical name derives from a Greek myth about Zeus, who fell in love with a beautiful woman named Cynara. The story goes that Zeus was visiting his brother Poseidon one day on a small Aegean island, when he came upon the […]

SCNM’s Scalzo Institute Charts New Directions in Herbal Research

By Erik Goldman

With an ambitious mandate to study botanical medicine “at the cellular, molecular, and cultural level to create novel botanical solutions that support people, plants, and planet,” the Ric Scalzo Institute for Botanical Research at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine aims to refine our understanding of herbs. The new Institute is equipped with state-of-the-art analytical equipment, […]

Is Echinacea Antiviral? It Depends

By Erik Goldman

Echinacea is consistently among the top selling herbal supplements in the US, and has been for decades. Many people take it as a go-to remedy for respiratory infections such as influenza and rhinovirus, and for general immune system support. It’s no surprise that sales of this popular herb jumped by more than 50% in the […]

The Phytochemical Equivalency Controversy

By Elan Sudberg, Contributing Writer

Is it truly equivalent? It’s a question currently being applied to chemical compounds, formally known as phytochemicals, that have historically been made exclusively by plants, but are now–through recent advancements in genetic engineering—being manufactured by genetically modified yeasts, or protozoans like euglena. A host of widely used vitamins, amino acids, sweeteners, essential oils, and bioactive […]

Standardization vs Synergy: The Paradoxes Of Botanical Identity Testing

By Elan Sudberg, Contributing Writer

I have a nerdy fascination with the subject of zoopharmacognosy—the study how we humans gained knowledge of which plants are food, which are poison, and which are medicine, by observing the animals around us. Other creatures seem to know what to eat, and what to avoid. Some have figured out ways to self-medicate by chewing […]

New Collaboration Promotes Chromatography for Herb Quality

By Erik Goldman

The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) and the American Botanical Council (ABC)—two of the nation’s leading herbal medicine advocacy groups—have joined forces with the International Association for the Advancement of High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography (HPTLC Association) to promote greater consensus and wider use of this important analytical technique. According to an AHP press release announcing […]

Ahiflower Oil: A New Option for Boosting Omegas & Reducing Inflammation

By Lisa Rankin, MD, Contributing Writer

Ahiflower oil, derived from the seeds of a plant called Buglossoides arvensis, provides a new vegan-friendly, sustainably sourced option for boosting essential fatty acid levels and mitigating pro-inflammatory physiological states. The research shows that Ahiflower—so named because it represents a plant-based alternative to omega-rich oils from fatty fish like the Ahi tuna–provides the richest, most […]

What Practitioners Need to Know About Botanical Quality Testing

By Elan Sudberg, Contributing Writer

As a kid I grew up in doctors’ offices and labs. It’s not because I was sick. Rather my mother and father both worked there. My mother was a microbiologist who applied those skills to live blood cell analysis and allergy testing, and then later worked in government microbiology labs where she researched models of […]