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Margaret B. Kreig 1922-1998.
Margaret Kreig, author of Green Medicine: the Search for the Plants that Heal, died January 12. Green Medicine told of the scientific quest for natural remedies in tropical rain forests as well as in up-to-date laboratories. In the 1960s and '70s she was a regular attendee at the annual meeting of the American Society of Pharmacognosy where she became acquainted with Professor Varro Tyler. "Her book, Green Medicine, was very important because it called the public's attention to the significance of pharmacognosy at a time when professional interest was waning," says Tyler.

According to Professor Norman Farnsworth, "This book stimulated a great deal of interest -- mainly by graduate students -- in the pursuit of drug exploration. It is probably the most interesting and authentic book regarding the ethnobotanical approach to drug discovery put out at the time. Unfortunately, she was unable to get the publisher to let her update it during the 1980s. She was a good researcher and she did a great deal of research to demystify or clarify some statements in classical pharmacognosy and some textbooks -- e.g., the discovery of quinine from Cinchona -- some myths that go back to the 16th century."

Mrs. Kreig researched her topics by traveling with scientific expeditions to such places as South and Central America. She was one of the first Americans to tour medical centers in China, traveling there in the early 1970s in preparation for her writings on Chinese medicine. She served in the Marine Corps Women's Reserve in World War II. She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Chicago, and Northwestern University. In the late 1940s and `50s she researched the spread of drug abuse among middle-class youths in the U.S. and worked at a drug treatment center in Lexington, Kentucky. Kreig was a public relations consultant to pharmaceutical companies, and was a staff writer and editor at Parents' Magazine. Under her pen name of Peggy Craig, she wrote murder mysteries and television scripts about crime.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.


By Barbara Johnston