Medicinal plant research at the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi is the topic of Museum Moments on June 15, 12 noon at Union County Heritage Museum. The program is free and a light lunch, provided by New Albany Pilot Club, is served beginning at 11:30.
The centers Medicinal Garden as well as current research will be presented by botanist Dr. Vijay Raman, Ph.D., research scientist with the Center and the UM School of Pharmacy.
Raman’s program will feature plant identification and authentication of medicinal plants, botanical dietary supplements. And he will introduce the important and most popular plants in the medicinal garden and briefly discuss their general uses, botanicals used as dietary supplements.
One of the main goals of Botanicals and Human Health Program at the research center is to identify botanical products with the potential to improve human health and to enable the safe, effective and proper use of high quality botanical products by healthcare professionals and consumers.
Consumer health products based directly on plant and minimally-processed plant products, known as herbal products, botanicals, dietary supplements, phytomedicines, or nutraceuticals have recently shown a rapid sales growth in the U.S.
Unfortunately, there is an amount of variability of the quality of the products that are in the marketplace neither the consumer nor the healthcare professional is able to distinguish between high and low quality products, according to the Center’s mission. The Center’s goal is to achieve good science, which is needed to provide information needed by the public to make good decisions concerning the proper use of these products.
Because there is controversy surrounding existing literature about research and medicinal plant use, the center’s aims to authenticate botanically, and characterize chemically and pharmacologically. Sample authentication and standardization activities as well as research on the optimization of yields and the best bioactive constituents in plants are part of the current efforts of the center.
Research on optimization of yields and high bioactive constituents in medicinal plants in the development of botanicals with antioxidant, immune- stimulatory and anti-inflammatory activities are a priority now.
Another aspect of the research at the center is the development of medicinal plants as alternative crops for US farmers. This interesting research can bode well for Mississippians in that new and viable economic opportunities for farmers could arise.
For more information about the program call the museum at 662-538-0014. The museum is located at 114 Cleveland Street in New Albany. Visitors are asked to use the Washington Street side entrance due to the construction project.
Jill N. Smith, Director
Union County Heritage Museum
114 Cleveland Street
New Albany, Mississippi 38652