Two sixth-year pharmacy doctoral students selected the American Botanical Council as a preceptor site for their academic internships. Stan Eapen from the University of Houston, College of Pharmacy, joined ABC in March and Christine Formea from the University of Texas at Austin, College of Pharmacy, in April, both for six-week rotations.
Both provided key assistance to the Education department, and helped build resources on herbs to be included in the Healthcare Professionals’ Guide to Commonly Used Herbs, ABC’s upcoming continuing education resource for physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and dietitians. They prepared and reviewed resource materials for many of the herbs to be included, obtained copies of scientific studies to support therapeutic claims, categorized the information, and helped compile an extensive bibliographical database library of references for each herb.
In addition, Stan made significant written contributions to the ginger monograph in the Healthcare Professionals’ Guide to Commonly Used Herbs, while Christine updated safety information on herbs and herb-drug interactions for ABC’s Herb Reference Guide. They also spent time cultivating the medicinal plant gardens at Case Mill.
“The interns’ contributions to ABC and our current projects have been immeasurable,” said Kara Dinda, Intern Supervisor and Education Director. “Most importantly, they had a unique opportunity to learn about phytomedicines, which will be invaluable to them as practicing pharmacists.”
Another asset in the form of student dedication of time and effort to ABC is Rachel Caplan, who is creating a garden guide for the nearly 300 species of medicinal plants that are already in, or will be added to, the gardens in the Case Mill homestead. In addition to determining their common and Latin names, she will research the ethnobotanical uses, actions, and modern uses of each plant.
Rachel, who has volunteered at ABC since autumn of 1999, studies botany at the University of Texas at Austin and plans a career in holistic health. The garden guide is an independent study project through which she will earn course credit at UT-Austin.
ABC’s Education Department has now mentored dozens of students from Southwest Texas University, The University of Texas, Texas A&M University, and the University of Houston, exposing them to the range and depth of information available about herbal medicine. — Karen Robin