February 1st, 2014: Fragrant and medicinal, lavender can affect people's alertness and mood. Depending on the species, it can stimulate or calm, sharpen or soothe. It's helpful in treating anxiety and sleep disturbances.
"The Plant Detective," February 1st, 2014: Lavender.
January 11th, 2014: Compounds in the beloved spice show activity against Type-2 diabetes among people with insulin resistance; cinnamon may resensitize cells to insulin. Researchers are studying cinnamon as well for its effects on HIV, colorectal cancer, multiple sclerosis and Alheimer's disease.
January 4th, 2014: From old wives' tales to pharmaceutical. Compounds in digitalis treat atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure, restoring the heart's ability to process fluids. Lanoxin - from the species, Digitalis lanata - remains one of the top cardiovascular drugs in the U.S.
Intrepid phytomedicinal investigator, Flora Delaterre has decided to retire. "The Plant Detective" will have its last on-air broadcast on MTPR on December 28, 2013. But the program will live on via podcasts and on demand archives. Read more from Flora below.
December 28th & 30th, 2013:Prized as incense, myrrh plays a role in the ceremonies of many religions, but also in medicine. Its antimicrobial qualities have made it useful for treating wounds, infection, inflammation, and candida - and today, it's found in toothpastes.
December 21st & 23rd, 2013:For millenia throughout the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, resinous nuggets from the frankincense tree have made fragrant and insecticidal smoke when burned. Frankincense is considered sacred as well as medicinal, but today, the trees aren't reproducing.
December 14th & 16th, 2013: The twisted root of the Asian plant Rauwolfia is a traditional Ayurvedic remedy for hypertension and insanity. As the modern anti-psychotic and blood pressure drug Reserpine, 1970s studies linked it to serious side effects, but recently, it's made a comeback as a valuable hypertensive.
November 30th & December 2nd, 2013: The root of the licorice shrub treats digestive problems, inflammation, ulcers, colds and many other ailments, but it creates problems when consumed in excess, raising blood pressure and causing electrolyte imbalances. American candy manufacturers substitute anise seed flavoring.
November 23rd & 25th, 2013: Licorice is an important shrub around the world, treating many ailments. The chemicals contained in licorice are thought to decrease swelling, thin mucus secretions, decrease cough, and increase the chemicals in our body that heal ulcers.
November 16th & 18th, 2013: The leaves, bark (sans thorns), root bark and berries of Prickly Ash are medicinal, soothing sore throat and skin inflammation, increasing saliva, and improving blood flow and digestion. North Americans used it to numb toothache.
November 9th & 11th, 2013: Henbane is the source of the drug hyoscyamine, the alkaloid that put Juliet to sleep and poisoned Hamlet's father. In proper doses, it helps relieve gastrointestinal disorders, heart problems, and symptoms of Parkinson's Disease.
November 2nd & 4th, 2013: Belladonna, or deadly nightshade, is reputed to have poisoned Emperor Augustus, but in spite of its name, the scopolamine nightshade contains is medicinal, inducing sleep and calming motion sickness. http://www.floradelaterre.com/
October 12th & 14th, 2013: Saw Palmetto II: Extracts of the berries of saw palmetto are an effective remedy for mild to moderate Benign Prostate Hyperplasia, but its popularity is tough on the species. http://www.floradelaterre.com
September 28th & 30th, 2013: Sylphion was so valuable to the ancient North African city of Cyrene - the only place where it grew - that the plant was pictured on the city's coins. People harvested sylphion to extinction for its medicinal and seasoning properties. http://www.floradelaterre.com
September 21st & 23rd, 2013: Witch hazel is an astringent, shrinking tissue and tightening skin and blood vessels. Nondistilled water extracts, without alcohol, are the most beneficial. http://www.floradelaterre.com