Plant Profiles in Chemical Ecology

The Secret Life of Plants

Category Alkaloids

Mangrove Medicine: Can Natural Products Protect Keystone Species?

Novel drugs derived from mangroves may fight more than just disease. International cooperation may soon create a new era of intertidal management, benefiting both the environment and working people.

Why does DMT exist?

Produced in the human brain, a bridge to the after life: Why is this powerful psychedelic also found in many plants?

Silk roads to pop culture

Purple Drink may be new on the scene, but it’s always had a presence within every generation of society back to the beginning. Purple Drink has gone by many alias and has had many a makeover through the centuries. Along the silk road this presence has traveled far and wide extending its tendrils deep into human culture. many have fallen in love with this cunning mistress to be left broke and alone. Those lucky enough to escape the icy grasp continually long for the nirvana they lost. Those not fortunate enough to escape may certainly follow their love into the dark.

Mystery of the Dancing Plant: Perhaps the Most Mystical Pea Plant since Jack’s Magic Beanstalk.

It’s speculated Jack’s magic beanstalk was a member of the Fabaceae family. Turns out, this pea family is still mystifying us. Learn what the author discovered about her own mysterious beans of the dancing plant…

This Hiker’s Nightmare is the Medicine Cabinet of the Forest

Prickly devil’s club growing in the Pacific Northwest holds amazing medicinal compounds.

Deadly Nightshade: Not So Deadly After All?

Poison-tipped arrows. Royal assassinations. European witchcraft. Ritual suicide. Throughout humanity’s history, the aptly named Deadly Nightshade, also known scientifically as Atropa belladonna, has had a reputation as a natural killer. The name “Atropa” in Atropa belladonna derives from the Greek… Continue Reading →

Vine and Dine- the Use of Banisteriopsis caapi in Shamanic Initiation

Deep in the jungle, a man is stripping the bark of a thick, climbing vine. An old pot boils over open fire and the steam hangs low in the humid rainforest. He is preparing for a sacred ceremony.

Ergot: Miracle Drug or Death Sentence?

Ergot, a parasitic fungus responsible for hundreds of deaths throughout human history, is now one the most common drugs in modern medicine. How did we turn these deadly alkaloids into a cure all pharmaceutical?

Oregon Grape: The Cleansing Fruit of the Pacific Northwest

“Solo sylvan-hued
Oregon Grape postures firmly;
Spring kisses blossoms golden.” Anthony O. Mitchell Jr.

There is a low lingering shrub that brightens the forested hills of the Pacific Northwest with its yellow flowers in the early summer. People local to Washington know it as the Dull Oregon Grape but this plant bears many names. It has been called Mountain Grape or Cascade Barberry and the scientific community recognizes it as Mahonia nervosa.

Wolfsbane: fictitous plant contains very real dangers

Is the famed plant, Wolfsbane actually poisonous? Find out what myths and chemical compounds have led to this plants mysterious history.

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