Plant Profiles in Chemical Ecology

The Secret Life of Plants


Plant Family

Tea Tree Oil: Nature’s Potent Antiseptic

Tea Tree Oil, composed of over 100 terpenes, is most widely recognized for its antimicrobial effects. Which of these terpenes can this property me attributed to?

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 →

The True Cost of Finding The New “Superfood”

When a wild indigenous food all-of-a-sudden becomes internationally desired we are quick to overlook the hefty price tag but what else are we overlooking?

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.

Sunflowers : Beautiful, oily, and versatile

For having a relatively short evolutionary history, the common sunflower has found a place in many aspects of everyday life. From food, cosmetics, and even fuel, the sunflower is as versatile as they come.

Thujone: Psychedelic, Potent Cancer Treatment, or Poison?

Thujone is a terpene compound present in an infamous and well-used plant, Artemisia absinthium, or Wormwood, a source of medicine, drunkenness, and psychedelic experiences for centuries.

Take Back Your Uterus with this Psychedelic Herb of the Ancient World

Fight the Patriarchy! In the era of Trump, this magical weed can help women fight the power and take control of their reproductive rights!

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