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By Deepak Mundkinajeddu, PhD, and Amit Agarwal, PhD
Methanol is considered to be an efficient organic solvent that frequently is used for the extraction of medicinal plant compounds. Trace amounts of solvents — which are known to be toxic at certain levels — inevitably remain in finished standardized herbal extracts. This article explores existing regulations for acceptable levels of residual methanol in botanical products and naturally occurring sources of the compound in food, beverages, and plants. Read more>>

By ABC Staff
In mid-June, ABC published the 500th issue of HerbClip, a bi-monthly series of critical reviews and expert commentary on herbal medicine-related scientific journal articles. HerbClips cover a range of article topics, including clinical trials and meta-analyses, medicinal plant-related regulations, market information and trends, ethnobotanical studies, sustainability and the environment, and more. Read more>>

By Bevin Clare
Clinical herbalism professor Bevin Clare offers both praise and minor criticisms of Michael J. Balick's recently published "practical guide for healthy living using nature's most powerful plants." The book is divided into three parts and covers a wide range of material, from the global history of herbal medicine to the many ways in which readers can incorporate healing plants into their lives. Read more>>

Methanol.

Featured Book
HealingHerbs_DS.jpg  
The Gift of Healing Herbs: Plant Medicines and Home Remedies for a Vibrantly Healthy Life was written by Robin Rose Bennett and published in 2014 by North Atlantic Books. The featured book excerpt includes book’s foreword, preface, and Chapter 1: “All Healing is Spiritual Healing.”

“When we read herbal books, there are long lists of ‘anti-’ herbs — antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic, antimicrobial, antifungal, and so on…. But I wonder — where are all the ‘pro’ herbs? Can’t we rename some of these terms? How about pro-circulatory, pro-respiratory, pro-digestive, spirit-lifting, etc.?”

Herbalist and teacher Robin Rose Bennett takes this affirmative tack and explores the wealth of healing power in herbs, focusing on plants that treat both the body and the soul. The Gift of Healing Herbs covers a wide variety of topics, from an introduction to the concept of “spiritual healing” to the basics of herbal preparations and “kitchen medicine.” Part II is organized by body system and contains more than 180 recipes for decoctions, oils, honeys, salves, and more. In each chapter, Bennett writes extensively on the herbs she has chosen to highlight and shares her own experiences, weaving in the importance of a healthy spirit throughout the text.

The Gift of Healing Herbs
 is available for purchase from the publisher.
Media Watch

Tobacco-Derived 'Plantibodies' Enter the Fight Against Ebola. Reuters. 8-6-14. Using tobacco as a carrier plant, researchers are in the process of creating antibodies that could help combat the Ebola virus.

Buying Fever Grips Peru's Maca Trade. Fox News. 8-6-14. Chris Kilham praises the beneficial qualities of this "superfood," but its sudden popularity may have market consequences.

Analysis of African Plant Reveals Possible Treatment for Aging Brain. MedicalXpress. 8-4-14. Researchers report that compounds from the Voacana africana tree may protect cells from neurodegeneration.

Malaria’s Strongest Drug is Becoming Obsolete, As More Parasites Become Resistant
. Medical Daily. 8-3-14. Artemisinin, an antimalarial drug derived from sweet wormwood, is losing its effectiveness against malaria-carrying parasites.

Repeal Prohibition, Again
New York Times [editorial]. 7-27-14. The Times’ Editorial Board has officially endorsed the legalization and proper regulation of marijuana.

Ancient People Achieved Remarkably Clean Teeth with Noxious Weed
National Geographic. 7-16-14. New analyses suggest that purple nutsedge may be responsible for the remarkably healthy teeth found in 2,000-year-old skeletons in Sudan.

Fantastically Wrong: The Strange History of Using Organ-Shaped Plants to Treat Disease
Wired. 7-16-14. The “Doctrine of Signatures” has a history that stretches back to ancient Greece, but the idea may have been a tool for memorization rather than identification.

The World's Largest Plant Collection Online
The Telegraph. 7-15-14. Part of the Royal Horticulture Society, the herbarium in Wisley, England, is preparing to digitalize its collection, which is the largest collection of garden plants in the world.

Events

August 17-22: International Horticulture Conference 2014. Brisbane, Australia.

August 25-29: Girl Empowered Camp. West Tisbury, Massachusetts.

September 12-14: 16th Annual International Ayurveda Symposium. Birstein, Germany.

October 13-15: Symposium of Integrative Medicine Professionals. Albuquerque, New Mexico.

More event listings can be found on ABC's website.

Herbal IQ

On August 1, scientists reported that a derivative of the plant-based antimalarial drug artemisinin was found to be effective in treating which other condition? Find the answer here!