Plant Detective, The

Monday 3:58 PM and Saturday 6:00 PM

Each week Flora Delaterre a.k.a. The Plant Detective investigates a new medicinal plant somewhere around the globe--and it could be in your backyard. Beth Judy writes and voices this minute-and-a-half program in consult with Bastyr University, Tai Sophia Institute, and the Vermont School of Integrative Herbalism. Produced by MTPR. Podcasts available on this website as well.....


May 31, 2014

5/31/14: This week on "The Plant Detective:" The rhizome of Zingiber officinale is eaten as a spice, a medicine, and a delicacy. It's an old remedy for nausea, motion sickness, morning sickness, and the common cold. It's also used to help digestion. And although further research is needed, a 2011 review of scientific literature found that ginger appears to be promising for cancer prevention.

Cloud Mushroom

May 24, 2014

5/24/14: This week on "The Plant Detective:" Cloud mushroom, used for centuries in Chinese medicine, shows immunomodulator properties, helping prolong life after treatment in certain types of cancer. And in clinical trials, a compound derived from cloud mushroom, Polysaccharide-K,  inhibited the onset of cancer.

Rhodiola Rosea

May 17, 2014

5/17/14: This week on "The Plant Detective:" The harsh living conditions of rhodiola, a plant that grows at high latitudes and elevations, might explain the strong protective compounds it produces. People of the Arctic used it in their folk medicine for everything from increasing endurance and fighting fatigue, infection and depression to increasing fertility, sharpening memory, and reducing the effects of aging and stress.


May 9, 2014

5/10/14: This week on "The Plant Detective:" For centuries, the root of Astragalus membranaceus has been used in Chinese traditional medicine, usually in combination with other herbs, to support the immune system and fight fatigue. Today, researchers are investigating roles for astragalus in cancer treatment and heart disease.


May 2, 2014

5/3/14: This week on "The Plant Detective:" Compounds in Common Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) soothe inflammation and help cells regenerate - hence the old names for plant, "boneset" and "knitbone." But toxic alkaloids in comfrey can damage the liver, so be cautious even with external use of this herb.

Age-old remedy can be dangerous.

Dong Quai

Apr 25, 2014

4/26/14: This week on "The Plant Detective:" Dong Quai, or Chinese angelica, is sometimes called the "female ginseng" for its role as a balancer of the female reproductive system. It's used for menstrual cramps, abnormal periods, and symptoms of PMS and menopause. Dong Quai is not recommended if you're pregnant or breast-feeding or if you're taking blood-thinning medicine, and it can make your skin light-sensitive.

Evening Primrose

Apr 18, 2014

4/19/14: This week on "The Plant Detective:"  There's an important acid in the seeds of evening primrose: gamma linolenic acid, or GLA, which is an essential fatty acid. From EFAs, our bodies manufacture chemicals responsible for many basic functions, and EFA deficiency may contribute to arthritic inflammation, menstrual problems, eczema, and more.

Bitter Melon II

Apr 11, 2014

4/12/14: This week on "The Plant Detective:" Bitter melon's ability to bring down blood sugar is proven, and it holds promise for treating complications of diabetes as a non-animal source of injectable insulin.

Bitter Melon I

Apr 4, 2014

4/5/14: This week on "The Plant Detective:" Bitter melon (Momordica charantia) goes by many names and is used as food and medicine across the world, especially in the tropics. It's got twice the calcium and potassium of spinach and bananas, but if you're going to try some raw, be ready: it's one bitter cucurbid.


Mar 28, 2014

3/29/14: This week on "The Plant Detective:" “Holy basil” helps many ailments. It's sacred - dedicated to Vishnu - and has been cultivated by Indian people for centuries, as medicine for fever, digestion, diabetes, stress, and more.