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By Jahan Marcu, PhD
Human and animal studies have shown that stimulating the endocannabinoid system in the body can have positive effects on cerebral and physiological function. Guest contributor Jahan Marcu, PhD, reviews clinical study and anecdotal evidence to describe how medical cannabis works, its history of use, and its possible use to treat neurodegenerative and other diseases.
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By Amy Roe, PhD
Health professionals must take into account numerous factors when assessing the potential for interactions between herbal supplements and conventional medications. Traditional use information, constituent profiles, and pharmacology and toxicity studies may help clinicians predict such interactions, but as guest contributor Amy Roe, PhD, explains, a common framework and flexible approach are needed to help determine whether or not herb-drug interaction (HDI) studies in humans are warranted. Read more>>

By Hannah Bauman and Jayda Seibert
Coriander, known also as cilantro, does more than add punch to Mexican, Asian, and Indian cuisine. The aromatic seeds provide benefits in aromatherapy, ointments, and oral preparations for many different complaints, including gastrointestinal distress, coughs and bronchitis, anxiety and insomnia, and diabetes. Both leaves and seeds contain antioxidants, polyphenols, and fatty acids, which are essential parts of a healthy diet and provide vital anti-aging mechanisms. Read more>>

Chemical structure of cannabidiol (CBD)

Key components for assessing potential HDIs

Coriandrum sativum

Featured Book

The Ayahuasca Test Pilots Handbook: The Essential Guide to Ayahuasca Journeying was written by Chris Kilham and published in 2014 by Evolver Editions, an imprint of North Atlantic Books. The except includes the title page, table of contents, preface by the author, and Chapter 4, "Ayahuasca, La Medicina."

Ayahuasca, an Amazonian psychedelic decoction traditionally made from the Psychotria viridis leaves and Banisteriopsis caapi vine, is increasing in popularity outside of South America. The tourist industry has grown accordingly, and “Medicine Hunter” Chris Kilham lays out the history of ayahuasca, what to expect when taking it, and how to safely experience the spiritual and mental benefits of the brew in this small, compact, practical guide. Kilham shares his unabashed enthusiasm for the healing possibilities of ayahuasca (also known as yagé) and writes intimately of his many journeys, bringing two decades’ worth of experience in the Amazon to curious readers who may consider journeys of their own.

Kilham balances his endorsement with caveats, including a discussion of drugs and psychiatric conditions that may not mix well with La Medicina, and tips on finding a reputable shaman to safely guide the user. “Even if you are familiar with other psychedelic agents,” Kilham writes, “you have not taken ayahuasca…. Many people who have previously experienced LSD, magic mushrooms, or peyote assume that they have a good idea of what to expect. This is only partially so…. I can say that ayahuasca possesses unimaginable oceanic powers. La Medicina is a living, conscious spirit with unlimited depth and energy.”

The Ayahuasca Test Pilots Handbook is available to purchase from the publisher's website.

Media Watch
How Texas Became a New Front in Marijuana Legalization Fight. Texas Observer. June 2, 2015. An increasing number of decriminalization and legalization bills are passing through the Texas State Legislature, surprising even pro-legalization activists.
Medicine’s Hidden Roots in an Ancient Manuscript. New York Times. June 1, 2015. Scattered manuscript pages of an ancient medical text have resurfaced, providing new insights into medicine’s roots and the spread of science across the ancient world.
Green Tea Supplement Backed for Prostate Cancer Reduction: RCT Findings. NutraIngredients. June 1, 2015. New research suggests that consumption of a green tea extract may reduce cancer rates in certain individuals while also reducing levels of prostate-specific antigen, a cancer biomarker.
Prunus africana: A Sustainable Management Reality Check. Center for International Forestry Research. June 1, 2015. The case of an endangered, overharvested African tree shows a disconnect between conservation research and practice.
FDA Ban Nearly Wiped Out Deaths, Poisonings From Ephedra. Reuters. May 27, 2015. Following the FDA’s ban of ephedra sales in 2004, reports of adverse effects dropped almost 98% by 2013.
I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here’s How. io9. May 27, 2015. In order to expose the ease with which flawed data becomes gospel, a journalist explains his role in an undercover sting operation: a defective study that quickly went viral.
Fewer Botanists Means Less Plant Study. US News and World Report. May 25, 2015. Since 1988, the number of research universities offering botany degrees has dropped by half, forcing some to close down valuable herbaria.
‘Thunder God’ Plant Could Help with Weight Loss. Live Science. May 21, 2015. An extract made from a plant that is used in traditional Chinese medicine may help with weight loss, according to a new study done in mice.

June 29 - July 2: Joint Society Conference: Society for Economic Botany and Indigenous Plant Use Forum. Clanwilliam, Western Cape, South Africa.

July 20-23: The NBJ Summit. Dana Point, California, USA.

July 25-29: American Society for Pharmacognosy Annual Meeting. Copper Mountain, Colorado, USA.

October 1-4: 11th International Symposium on the Chemistry of Natural Compounds. Antalya, Turkey.

October 5-9: SupplySide West. Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

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

Herbal IQ

What functional foods can protect you from the sun from the inside out this summer? Find out here!