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Plants that heal

We're all feeling pretty health conscious at the moment. Not only are we in the middle of once-in-a-century pandemic, we’re also coming into peak flu-season in the southern hemisphere. 

Medicinal plants: Ancient wisdom to cutting-edge research

Medicine has made some of the most feared and deadly diseases such as polio easily preventable. And to a lot of people’s surprise, many of the medicines developed in the last century were derived from naturally occurring molecules found in plants, bacteria, and fungi. 

Botany is one of the oldest branches of science and still to this day, it’s all about discovering, describing and documenting new species of plant life. Any one of those undocumented species comes with the opportunity for potential medicinal properties to be identified and utilsed to save lives.

In this episode of Branch Out you'll discover the latest in cutting-edge medicinal cannabis research and traditional Chinese herbal medicine, helping to treat everything from dementia to endometriosis. You'll also learn how to grow a couple of plants at home that can help relieve those cold and flu symptoms. 

Hit play below to take a deep dive into the amazing healing power of plants with this inspiring and knowledgeable line up: 

The oldest traditional chinese herbal medicine text, the Materia Medica, is believed to be from the 2nd century BC. The original text has been lost but this is a traced copy of an illustration from 1505 of cluster mallow, which is used to treat constipation and promote lactation. 
An advertisement for Adamson's Botanic Balsam from 1870 - 1900. This herbal concoction containing bloodroot and lobelia was used to treat coughs, colds, sore throats and bronchitis. 
The history of cannabis and its usage by humans dates back to at least the third millennium BC in written history, and possibly further back by archaeological evidence. It originated in Central Asia and spread to every country on Earth. Justin Sinclair from the NICM Health Research Institute is researching a variety of potential uses of medicinal cannibis to treat endometriosis and dementia. 
Gingko is considered a wonder herb in traditional chinese medicine. Professor Dennis Chang from the NICM Health Research Institute used a formula made up of gingko, ginseng and saffron developed by the Academy of Chinese Medical Science in vascular dementia clinical trials. Patients demonstrated that that herbal formula could improve symptoms in cognition, quality of life, activities, daily living.
Tea tree, Melaleuca alternifolia, is native to Australia. The oil possesses antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal benefits. You can use it to treat acne, athlete's foot and contact dermatitis. You can even grow it at home, just make sure you have good drainage and use an acidic-neutral soil. 
Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger, responsible for much of its medicinal properties. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Simply buy a piece of ginger from the supermarket and pop it straight in the soil. It's easy to grow in a pot with filtered sunlight in a sheltered spot and takes about 8-10 months between planting and harvest. 
Botanist Dr Richard Jobson from the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney discovered a tiny new flower species, Lobelia claviflora, growing in three shallow swamps in northern NSW belonging to a genus used in a variety of medicines.
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