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By Robert C. Clarke and Mark D. Merlin, PhD
Guest contributors Robert Clarke and Mark Merlin, PhD, co-authors of the comprehensive text Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany, explore the spread of Cannabis species throughout the world and the impacts this geographical range has had on the genetics, historical uses, and naming of the botanical. Taxonomic nomenclature, they write, will likely continue to change as researchers learn more about the evolutionary history of CannabisRead more>>

By Hannah Bauman and Min Kwon
Arugula’s cruciferous pedigree gives salads and pizzas a peppery kick. It also packs a nutritious punch, providing vitamins K and A, antioxidants, and the same cancer-fighting potential as its relatives broccoli and kale. Though arugula seed oil is relatively unknown in the United States, it enjoys widespread use in India, Iran, and Pakistan. This month’s Food as Medicine article takes a look at the unsung hero of the Brassica family, which has a history of cultivation, medicinal use, and even a scandalous reputation stretching back thousands of years. Read more>>

By Victor Sierpina, MD
Based on an experience with one of his cancer patients, this article by guest contributor Victor Sierpina, MD, a professor of integrative medicine, explores the benefits of cannabis and the legal complications surrounding the herb. As additional high-quality studies are published, Sierpina hopes lawmakers and others will begin to realize the true medicinal potential of cannabis. Read more>>

Come Celebrate 11th Annual HerbDay in Austin on May 7. American Botanical Council. April 4, 2016.

Eruca sativa

Featured Book

Icelandic Herbs and Their Medicinal Uses was written by Anna Rósa Róbertsdóttir and published by North Atlantic Books in 2016. The excerpt includes the title page, table of contents, foreword, and four herb profiles.

Full-color photographs capture northern and cold-hardy plants in intimate detail in Icelandic Herbs and Their Medicinal Uses. Suitable for professional herbalists and hobbyists alike, this guide provides details on more than 80 native or naturalized medicinal plants with traditional and modern uses in Iceland.

Each profile spans two-four pages and describes the plant’s habitat, parts used, harvesting times, constituents, history of use, actions, uses, modern research, and suggested dosage. When applicable, each profile also includes an excerpt from Icelandic herbal texts that mentions the plant, such as Björn Halldórsson’s Uses of Herbs (1783) and Oddur Jónsson Hjaltalín’s Icelandic Botany (1830). The book ends with an extensive bibliography organized by plant.

Though regions in northern biomes generally lack the overwhelming botanical diversity of tropical rainforests, Icelandic Herbs reveals the hardy nature and austere, overlooked beauty of the plants which make up the Icelandic medicine chest. In her introduction, Róbertsdóttir writes: “It is my deepest hope that this book will awaken interest in the treasures that Icelandic nature holds, while also increasing the knowledge and use of medicinal herbs.”

Icelandic Herbs and Their Medicinal Uses is available for purchase from the publisher’s website.

Media Watch

We have tested the links of the following articles prior to publication; however, some news organizations remove stories and disable links at various times.

Red Raspberry Research Abounds at 2016 Experimental Biology Conference
. EurekAlert! April 4, 2016. Six animal model studies reveal red raspberry’s potential anti-inflammatory properties and role in cardiovascular, blood glucose and liver function.

Continuing Science Will Boost Ayurveda, Even Given Tension Over Best Research Models to Use, Experts Say
. NutraIngredients-USA. March 24, 2016. Accelerating interest in the personalization of medicine and the accumulation of a body of research will help drive increasing acceptance of Ayurveda in the West, experts say.

Chocolate Can Boost Your Workout. Really
The New York Times. March 23, 2016. Epicatechin in dark chocolate stimulates nitric oxide production, which some scientists believe can be a potent performance enhancer.

Biological Specimen Troves Threatened by Funding Pause
Nature News. March 21, 2016. Museums around the US are alarmed by the National Science Foundation’s decision to indefinitely suspend funding to maintain research collections.

Researchers Believe Disease-Fighting Beer May Be Close
. Fox News. March 16, 2016. Scientists at the University of Idaho reported they are close to synthesizing healthful hops compounds, which have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, in a lab.

American Herbal Pharmacopoeia Publishes Revision for Cranberry Fruit
Nutraceuticals World. March 15, 2016. The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia has published an expanded and revised version of its 2002 Vaccinium macrocarpon monograph.

Key to Herbal Remedy's Success May Be in the Bacteria. Science Daily. April 5, 2016. New research shows that the medicinal benefits of the Chinese herbal preparation juzen-haiho-to may be due in part to the bacteria that lives on the roots of one of the plant ingredients.

Veteran Tea Industry Editor Unveils Kickstarter Campaign to Launch New Title: Tea Journey. Talking New Media. March 14, 2016. The former publisher of World Tea News has announced a fundraiser for a new digital magazine focused on all aspects of the tea market.

Herbal IQ

Can you name two herbal products that, when taken orally, have been shown to provide significant protection from UV exposure? Find the answer here!