Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Can highly cited herbs in ancient Traditional Chinese medicine formulas and modern publications predict therapeutic targets for diabetes mellitus?

Journal of Ethnopharmacology Volume 213, 1 March 2018, Pages 101-110 Journal of Ethnopharmacology Author links open overlay panelHuijunWangabSongshanShiaShunchunWanga Show more rights and content Abstract Ethnopharmacological relevance The prevalence of diabetes among all age groups worldwide was estimated to be more than 382 million in 2013. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been practiced for thousands of years, and substantial valuable experience and prescriptions have been accumulated in the TCM system for the treatment of diabetes. In recent decades, a large amount of experimental and clinical data has been published on the use of herbal medicines related to these ancient TCM prescriptions. Aim of the study This study aimed to discover a method for the investigation of potential antidiabetic herbs from the large amount of data in ancient TCM formulas and modern publications and to verify this method through an in vitro bioactivity study. Materials and methods In our review, the most frequently cited TCM herbs were selected as potential antidiabetic herb candidates on the basis of TCM philosophical theory (ancient TCM formulas) and Western medicine philosophical theory (modern publications). The ethanol and aqueous extracts of the selected herbs were screened for their α-glucosidase inhibitory, glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS), and intestinal glucose transport inhibitory effects. Results Twelve herbs [Terminalia chebula Retz., fructus immaturus, dried; Poria cocos (Schw) Wolf., sclerotium, dried; Zea mays L., stigma, dried; Pueraria lobata (Willd.) Ohwi, radix, dried; Cucurbita moschata (Duch. ex Lam.) Duch. ex Poiret, fructus, dried; Lycium barbarum L., fructus, dried; Glycine max (L.) Merr., semen, fermented; Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch., radix and rhizoma, dried; Dioscorea opposita Thunb., rhizoma, dried; Morus alba L., folium, dried, Morus alba L., fructus, dried; and Polygonatum odoratum (Mill.) Druce, rhizoma, dried] were finally selected as candidates with potential glucose-lowering effects after a review was performed of herbs that are frequently cited in ancient TCM formulas and modern publications. The bioactive study results demonstrated that both the ethanol extracts and crude polysaccharides of M. alba L., fructus, dried, and M. alba L., folium, dried, and the crude polysaccharides of T. chebula Retz., fructus immaturus, dried, exhibited α-glucosidase inhibitory effects. Moreover, the crude polysaccharides of P. cocos (Schw) Wolf., sclerotium, dried; Z. mays L., stigma, dried; and T. chebula Retz., fructus immaturus, dried, exhibited favorable GSIS effects, and the ethanol extracts of P. odoratum (Mill.) Druce, rhizoma, dried; T. chebula Retz., fructus immaturus, dried; and G. uralensis Fisch., radix and rhizoma, dried, significantly decreased glucose transport across the cell monolayer. Conclusions Our review and the preliminary bioactive study revealed that 10 of the 12 recommended edible TCM herbs had favorable antidiabetic effects, demonstrating that TCM herbs with a high prescription and publication frequency may provide insights into the potential therapeutic targets of diabetes mellitus and may aid in the discovery of effective compounds complementary to currently used medicines. Such a literature and medicine review is a useful method of exploring potential antidiabetic herbs by using the wealth of information in ancient TCM formulas and modern publications. Graphical abstract fx1 Download high-res image (139KB)Download full-size image Chemical compounds studied in this article 1-Deoxynojirimycin (PubChem CID: 29435)Exendin-4 (PubChem CID: 56927919)Phloridzin (PubChem CID: 6072)Phloretin (PubChem CID: 4788) Keywords Diabetes mellitusTraditional Chinese medicineAncient TCM formulasModern publicationsEdible herbs

Ethnopharmacological implications of quantitative and network analysis for traditional knowledge regarding the medicinal use of animals by indigenous people in Wolchulsan National Park, Korea

Journal of Ethnopharmacology Volume 213, 1 March 2018, Pages 1-11 Author links open overlay panelGeunKimaHyunKimbMi-JangSongc Show more rights and content Abstract Ethnopharmacological relevance The purpose of this study was to record, analyze, and identify ethnopharmacological implications for oral traditional knowledge regarding the medicinal use of animals by indigenous people living in Wolchulsan National Park, Korea. Materials and methods Data were collected through interviews, informal meetings, open and group discussions, and observations guided by semi-structured questionnaires. Data were analyzed via quantitative analysis of informant consensus factor and fidelity level, and network analysis, including centrality and clustering analysis. Results A total of 46 families, 59 genera, and 60 species of animals, as well as 373 methods of usage, were recorded. Fish comprised 31.7% of the total animal species recorded, followed by mammals at 20.0%, arthropods at 18.3%, and mollusks at 11.7%. Of these animals, 48.0% were utilized as food and 46.1% for medicinal use. Quantitative analysis showed that the category with the highest degree of consensus from informants was veterinary ailments (informant consensus factor value, 0.96). This was followed by poisonings (0.93), pains (0.92), genitourinary system disorders (0.91), cuts and wounds (0.89), and other medical conditions. The lowest degree of consensus was for skin diseases and disorders (0.57). There were 8 species of animals with a fidelity level of 100%, after eliminating from the animals analyzed that were mentioned only once. Finally, using network analysis, Gallus gallus domesticus and Gloydius brevicaudus were defined as species with meaningful medicinal use, while lack of vigor and lung diseases were defined as significant ailments in the study area. Conclusion This study validates that local communities use animals not only for food but also for medicinal purposes as crucial therapeutic measures. Therefore, the conservation of fauna and preservation of traditional knowledge need to be seriously considered to maintain the health and well-being of the local communities. Network analysis clarified the series of ailments for which each animal species is preferentially used and helped confirm the order of priority when prescribing animal components for medicinal use. The traditional knowledge recorded in the present study will provide the basic data to develop new medicines for the bioindustry. Graphical abstract fx1 Download high-res image (224KB)Download full-size image Keywords Oral traditional knowledgeQuantitative analysisNetwork analysisBioindustryWolchulsan National Park

Joseph Banks: botanical work on Cook's voyage finally makes it to print Prints of hundreds of plant specimens collected by the British naturalist come together in Florilegium Pereskia Grandifolia (rose cactus, Cactaceae) One of the images from Banks’s Florilegium: Pereskia Grandifolia (rose cactus, Cactaceae). Photograph: Editions Alecto Ltd and the Trustees of the National History Museum, London Michael Slezak @MikeySlezak email Monday 20 November 2017 17.00 GMT Last modified on Tuesday 28 November 2017 08.04 GMT The publishing deadline was missed by more than 200 years, but finally the work of one of the great men of the Enlightenment has been printed and distributed, sharing with the world the detailed botanical work of Joseph Banks on his journey aboard James Cook’s Endeavour. Cook’s mission when he left England in 1768 was ostensibly to chart the transit of Venus – a measurement that would allow the estimation of the distance from the Earth to the sun, which would aid navigation. However, Cook had been instructed to attempt the “discovery of the southern continent so often mentioned”. Banks first stepped on the land of the Dharawal people – a place the invaders called Botany Bay – in 1770, in the midst of his mission to describe the natural history of the lands encountered on the voyage and to amass the largest collection of plants previously unknown to European science. Stogmaphyllon Ciliatum (orchid vine, Malpighiaceae) Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stogmaphyllon Ciliatum (orchid vine, Malpighiaceae). Photograph: Editions Alecto Ltd and the Trustees of the National History Museum, London As was the case with many Enlightenment scientists, Banks was a wealthy member of the English upper class. He paid his own way on the ship, as well that of his eight staff and colleagues. Over a period of about two years, Banks completed a journal 200,000-words long and collected 30,000 plant specimens, about half of which were new to science. But key to the scientific work was the recording of the specimens, which at the time required paintings, drawings and etchings – work undertaken by Sydney Parkinson, a young Scottish artist who was part of Banks’s team. Before Parkinson died at just 25 on the ship’s return via South Africa, he had completed 269 plant watercolours and had 673 unfinished sketches. When Banks returned, he is thought to have put aside £10,000 to publish 14 volumes. In them would be 942 plant illustrations – of which 753 were eventually engraved for printing. But the project was never finished, thanks to the deaths of some of the key authors, and Banks’s financial losses following the American War of Independence. Eventually, about 23 decades later, 100 sets of prints were finished in 1990 – one set sold for £100,000. Now, ahead of the 250th anniversary of Cook’s voyage next year, those of more modest means can enjoy the finished product of Banks’s studies, with publisher Thames and Hudson’s release of the book Joseph Banks’ Florilegium: Botanical Treasures from Cook’s First Voyage. In the book, 147 of the prints have been delightfully reproduced, and are accompanied by the prose of the former executive director of the NSW Royal Botanical Gardens and Domain Trust, David Mabberley. Bouganivillea Spectabilis (Nyctaginacea) Facebook Twitter Pinterest Bouganivillea Spectabilis (Nyctaginacea). Photograph: Editions Alecto Ltd and the Trustees of the National History Museum, London His commentary is written as captions to each plate, but as he explains in his introduction, the captions also produce a continuous narrative, carrying the reader through the selection of glorious prints. As Mel Gooding explains in the book, Banks’ Florilegium was intended primarily as a contribution to science – “the initiation of Australasian botany”. But to the modern reader, it is more a work of art. It is “a work of outstanding graphic achievement and a radiant revelation of natural beauty in its infinite variety and particularity,” Gooding writes. This article was amended on 28 November 2017 to correct the sale price of the 1990 set of prints.

pics - my camera is making more noises than ever

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

2015 Review: A Cree Healer and His Medicine Bundle Cree Healer and His MEdicine Bundle Healer passes his knowledge on to youth Written by Russell Willier Reviewed by Dianne Meili Windspeaker Contributor Hoping to help young people, Indigenous healer Russell Willier teamed up with anthropologist David Young once again to produce an excellent book — A Cree Healer and His Medicine Bundle: Revelations of Indigenous Wisdom – Healing Plants, Practices, and Stories—that preserves Cree medicinal knowledge, plant by plant. Following the 1989 release of Cry of The Eagle, a book tracking Willier’s life as a traditional healer and his treatment of 10 patients afflicted with psoriasis, the duo this time enlists botanist Robert Rogers to provide commentary on folk uses and the explicit properties of 61 plants in Willier’s repertoire. As a teenager, the healer rejected the responsibility that came with accepting his grandfather’s medicine bundle. In his 30s, however, aging medicine people convinced him to abandon his everyday life in favour of studying their healing methods to help preserve their knowledge. Cree cosmology figures large in Willier’s approach to healing; he describes his spiritual views with the help of diagrams. He also discusses how and where he finds his plants and herbs, offers practical advice on how to approach a healer, and laments the loss of natural habitats where his wild medicines grow. Willier’s favourite healing stories are engaging, especially the one about the call he received from the family of a dying Elder who saw spirits emerging from a round flying vehicle “with little windows” to collect him. Through Young’s research diary, we ride along with them on a 1,000 km journey across northern Alberta to collect plants in July. The men slog through bogs and ride quads on rutted roads to locate medicine, along the way visiting with Willier’s old mentor, and taking photographs of flowers, stems and roots. From “ice cream trees” (Trembling Aspen whose sweet-tasting cambium tastes like honeydew melon) to “frog pants” (the carnivorous pitcher plant), Russell provides information about how traditional Cree people interacted with various †plants, herbs and trees. Rogers provides additional information about uses and properties of each plant, while nearly 200 of Young’s color photos illustrate how they appear in the summer and fall. The authors revisit their 1986 Psoriasis Research project in the book’s final section, relying on dramatic before-and-after photos to help demonstrate the effectiveness of natural plant medicine on severe skin eruptions. Six of 10 patients improved significantly over the course of seven months, one of whom was completely cured of psoriasis on his hands. Maps and descriptions of Northern Alberta locales where Willier finds his medicine plants underscore his generous wish to guide young people in using them. There’s also an index of referenced plants in English, Latin and Cree, plus a list of references cited in the book, published by North Atlantic Books, 2015. Fully accomplishing what it sets out to do, the book offers evidence that traditional medicine really works, and aspiring healers can reference text, pictures, and maps to identify and locate them. Providing, that is – as Willier repeatedly stresses in the book – that humans stop destroying the habitat of wild, medicinal plants. Photo caption: A Cree Healer and His Medicine Bundle: Revelations of Indigenous Wisdom – Healing Plants, Practices, and Stories - Written by Russell Willier

Layn Supports ABC’s Adopt-an-Herb Program through Monk Fruit Adoption

AUSTIN, Texas (October 12, 2017) — Layn, a natural ingredients company headquartered in Shanghai, China, has adopted monk fruit (Siraitia grosvenorii) through the American Botanical Council’s (ABC’s) Adopt-an-Herb Program. Through its adoption, Layn helps ABC expand its nonprofit educational mission and keep its unique HerbMedPro database updated with the latest scientific and clinical research on monk fruit. HerbMedPro is a comprehensive, interactive online database that provides access to important scientific and clinical research data on the uses and health effects of approximately 250 medicinal and aromatic plants. “We are honored to adopt monk fruit through the Adopt-an-Herb Program,” said Shaun Richmond, vice president of Layn USA, which is based in Newport Beach, California. “We look forward to working with ABC to help advance the research and provide more education about this important botanical.” “Monk fruit has been used for centuries both for its sweet flavor and for its medicinal properties,” Richmond continued. “We are excited to help bring more information to light about its unique compounds, applications, benefits, and sustainable agricultural practices.” ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal added: “At a time when consumers are seeking safe, natural, non-caloric sweeteners, monk fruit has entered the market as an additional option to help satisfy the large public demand. ABC is grateful to Layn for its adoption of monk fruit on ABC’s HerbMedPro database. Layn’s adoption provides the funding to help ABC keep up with the published scientific literature, thereby helping to make the science on this botanical more readily available to researchers and the public.” About Monk Fruit Monk fruit, or luo han guo in Chinese, is a perennial vine in the Cucurbitaceae (gourd) botanical family that is grown primarily in the autonomous region of Guangxi in southern China, mostly in the mountains near the city of Guilin. The plant is prized for its fruits, which are used for medicinal purposes and contain compounds used as natural, low-calorie sweetening agents. The sweet taste of monk fruit comes primarily from mogrosides, a group of triterpene glycosides. (The compound mogroside V is approximately 250 times sweeter than sucrose, or common table sugar.) Monk fruit also contains high amounts of amino acids, fructose, vitamins, and minerals. In traditional Chinese medicine, the dried fruit and leaf of monk fruit are used to treat a variety of respiratory conditions. Monk fruit’s adoption page can be found here. The HerbMedPro record on monk fruit is available here. About Layn Layn is a global leader in the vertically integrated production of premium-quality natural sweeteners, flavors, and botanicals. For more than two decades, Layn has led the natural sweetener industry with innovative ingredients designed to meet the specific needs of global food, beverage, and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Layn’s portfolio of monk fruit, stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) extracts, and other functional botanicals delivers superior taste profiles, according to the company, with a focus on sustainability and proprietary formulations to best satisfy a broad range of customer-specific applications. Layn’s long-term relationships with its farmers and its support for local communities are an integral part of the company’s success. More information is available at About Adopt-an-Herb and HerbMedPro Layn is one of 50 companies that have supported ABC’s educational efforts to collect, organize, and disseminate reliable, traditional, science-based, and clinical information on herbs, medicinal plants, and other botanical- and fungal-based ingredients through the Adopt-an-Herb Program. This program encourages companies, organizations, and individuals to “adopt” one or more specific herbs for inclusion and ongoing maintenance in the HerbMedPro database. To date, 56 herbs have been adopted. Each adopted herb is continuously researched for new articles and studies, ensuring that its HerbMedPro record stays current and robust. The result is an unparalleled resource not only for researchers, health professionals, industry, and consumers, but for all members of the herbal and dietary supplements community. HerbMedPro is available to ABC members at the Academic level and higher. Its “sister” site, HerbMed, is free and available to the general public. In keeping with the ABC’s position as an independent research and education organization, herb adopters do not influence the scientific information that is compiled for their respective adopted herbs.

A Systematic Review of Published Systematic Reviews on Ginkgo Extract for Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia

HerbalEGram: Volume 14, Issue 10, October 2017 Reviewed: Zhang HF, Huang LB, Zhong YB, et al. An overview of systematic reviews of Ginkgo biloba extracts for mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Front Aging Neurosci. 2016;8:276. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2016.00276. Study Details: At a Glance Participants 10 systematic reviews Study Design Systematic review of systematic reviews Study Length N/A Test Material Various ginkgo extracts Control Various Financial Disclosures None reported Current dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) treatments address only symptoms; disease-modifying therapies for these conditions do not yet exist. Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba, Ginkgoaceae) leaf extract is used to treat symptoms of dementia, and many randomized, controlled trials have been conducted to evaluate efficacy and safety. Likewise, many systematic reviews have been conducted. The purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic review of the published ginkgo systematic reviews. The following databases were searched from inception to September 2015 in both English and Chinese: Chinese Biological Medical Literature Database, Web of Science, PubMed, Chinese Wanfang Data, Chinese VIP Information, and Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure. Included articles met the following criteria: (1) systematic reviews or meta-analyses; (2) used ginkgo extract for the prevention of cognitive function decline or for treating MCI, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), vascular dementia (VD), or mixed dementia; and (3) used human subjects. Studies evaluating mixed treatments were excluded. The methodology of the systematic reviews was assessed with the Overview Quality Assessment Questionnaire (OQAQ). A total of 229 articles were located, and 10 reviews met the inclusion criteria.1-10 The reviews were published from 2010 to 2015, nine were written in English, and one was written in Chinese. The studies included reviews of AD (n = 3); VD (n = 1); AD plus VD (n = 2); AD, VD, and mixed dementia (n = 3); and MCI (n = 1). Some of the included reviews also assessed ginkgo’s effects on cognitive decline, dementia, and other variables. Each systematic review evaluated the methodology of the included studies, and it was determined that seven reviews included good-quality studies, two included moderate-quality studies, and one included poor studies. The OQAQ scores determined that nine of the systematic reviews had only minor or minimal flaws, and one was seriously flawed. Cognitive Decline Two systematic reviews evaluated the ability of ginkgo extracts to prevent cognitive decline.9,10 Both concluded that they had no significant preventative effect. However, one of the two reviews9 included only two underpowered studies evaluating prevention, and the other10 included a study with inconclusive findings. According to the authors, additional research is needed to determine the effect of ginkgo on prevention of cognitive decline. Mild Cognitive Impairment Only one systematic review evaluated MCI.10 It concluded that there was no significant effect of ginkgo extract on activities of daily living (ADL). (However, the authors noted that “There is no use measuring ADLs in patients with MCI or AAMI [age-associated memory impairment] who have subtle or no ADL impairment, and then saying there was no improvement.”) The review10 also found that ginkgo alone and ginkgo plus conventional treatment had a significant effect on cognitive function compared with conventional therapy alone. Dementia In patients with dementia, two systematic reviews1,6 concluded that 240 mg of EGb 761 ginkgo extract (Dr. Willmar Schwabe GmbH & Co. KG; Karlsruhe, Germany) was better than placebo on a global clinical assessment. Furthermore, one of the reviews1 found a dose-dependent result: a 240-mg dose of EGb 761 produced better results than a 120-mg dose of EGb 761 on the global clinical assessment. Two additional systematic reviews1,4 concluded that a 240-mg dose of EGb 761 was better than placebo at improving cognitive function. Four systematic reviews1,4,5,7 concluded that a 240-mg dose of EGb 761 improved neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) and behavioral symptoms compared with placebo in patients with dementia. Two of these reviews4,5 reported significant improvements in ginkgo-treated patients with NPS, including depression, and one7 reported significant improvements only in patients who showed behavioral symptoms; the fourth review1 found that a 240-mg dose of EGb 761 was significantly superior to placebo in treating patients suffering from dementia with NPS, but did not include behavioral symptoms in its analysis. Two systematic reviews evaluated ADL in patients with dementia. One of these reviews5 concluded an improvement in ADL and the other7 — which did not include “several of the more recent and successful trials,” according to the authors — concluded no improvement. Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia In patients with AD, two systematic reviews1,6 concluded that EGb 761 was better than placebo on a global clinical assessment, and another two5,7 showed improvement in cognitive function. Two systematic reviews evaluated NPS in patients with AD; one5 concluded an improvement in NPS and the other7 concluded no improvement. Two systematic reviews evaluated quality of life (QoL) in patients with AD; one10 concluded an improvement and the other3 was inconclusive. (According to an expert peer reviewer of this article, this review included one study with potential methodological issues and failed to include another study11 that found significant improvements in QoL.) Four systematic reviews3,5,7,9 evaluated ADL in patients with AD and concluded that ginkgo could improve ADL. One9 found the effects on ADL were dose dependent and that a daily dose of 240 mg of ginkgo was more effective than placebo. In patients with VD, one systematic review2 concluded that ginkgo was effective at improving ADL and cognitive function. Conclusion Eight systematic reviews evaluated safety.1-5,7,8,10 All of the studies concluded that ginkgo had a similar frequency of adverse effects (AEs) or significantly fewer AEs compared with placebo. The authors state that to their knowledge this is the first systematic review of systematic reviews evaluating the efficacy and safety of ginkgo for the treatment of dementia and MCI. Overall, the authors conclude (1) there was a dose-dependent effect of ginkgo, with the higher dose (240 mg) being more effective; (2) patients taking ginkgo had fewer AEs than those taking placebo; (3) the effect of ginkgo on the progression of AD pathology has not been studied. A limitation of this article is that detailed analyses of optimal doses, durations, and treatments were not provided. Since this was a review of reviews, it is possible that the most recent randomized, controlled studies that could have potentially been included were not. There was no reported conflict of interest. —Heather S. Oliff, PhD All photo credits: ©2017 Steven Foster References Gauthier S, Schlaefke S. Efficacy and tolerability of Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761R in dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Clin Interv Aging. 2014;9:2065-2077. doi:10. 2147/CIA.S72728. Hu Q, Tu X, Zhang Y, Yang WY, Long J. Systemic [sic] review of Ginkgo biloba extract for vascular dementia. Liaoning J Tradit Chin Med. 2013;4:683-686. Janssen IM, Sturtz S, Skipka G, Zentner A, Velasco Garrido M, Busse R. Ginkgo biloba in Alzheimer’s disease: a systematic review. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2010:160,539-546. doi:10.1007/s10354-010-0844-8. Jiang L, Su L, Cui H, Ren J, Li C. Ginkgo biloba extract for dementia: a systematic review. Shanghai Arch Psychiatry. 2013;25:10-21. doi:10. 3969/j.issn.1002-0829.2013.01.005. Tan MS, Yu JT, Tan CC, et al. Efficacy and adverse effects of Ginkgo biloba for cognitive impairment and dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Alzheimers Dis. 2015;43:589-603. doi:10.3233/JAD-140837. Wang BS, Wang H, Song YY, et al. Effectiveness of standardized Ginkgo biloba extract on cognitive symptoms of dementia with a six-month treatment: a bivariate random effect meta-analysis. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2010;43:86-91. doi:10.1055/s-0029-1242817. Weinmann S, Roll S, Schwarzbach C, Vauth C, Willich SN. Effects of Ginkgo biloba in dementia: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Geriatr. 2010;10:14. doi:10.1186/1471-2318-10-14. Yang Z, Li WJ, Huang T, Chen JM, Zhang X. Meta-analysis of Ginkgo biloba extract for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Neural Regen Res. 2011;6:1125-1129.doi:10.3969/j.issn.1673-5374.2011.15.001. Yang M, Xu DD, Zhang Y, Liu X, Hoeven R, Cho WC. A systematic review on natural medicines for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease with meta-analyses of intervention effect of ginkgo. Am J Chin Med. 2015;42:505-521.doi:10.1142/S0192415X14500335. Yang G, Wang Y, Sun J, Zhang K, Liu J. Ginkgo biloba for mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Curr Top Med Chem. 2016;16:520-28. doi:10.2174/1568026615666150813143520. Herrschaft H, Nacu A, Likhachev S, Sholomov I, Hoerr R, Schlaefke S. Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761® in dementia with neuropsychiatric features: a randomised, placebo-controlled trial to confirm the efficacy and safety of a daily dose of 240 mg. J Psychiatr Res. 2012 Jun;46(6):716-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2012.03.003.

Food as Medicine: West Indian Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus, Poaceae)

HerbalEGram: Volume 14, Issue 10, October 2017 Editor’s Note: Each month, HerbalEGram highlights a conventional food and briefly explores its history, traditional uses, nutritional profile, and modern medicinal research. We also feature a nutritious recipe for an easy-to-prepare dish with each article to encourage readers to experience the extensive benefits of these whole foods. With this series, we hope our readers will gain a new appreciation for the foods they see at the supermarket and frequently include in their diets. The basic materials for this series were compiled by dietetic interns from Texas State University in San Marcos and the University of Texas at Austin through the American Botanical Council’s (ABC’s) Dietetic Internship Program, led by ABC Education Coordinator Jenny Perez. We would like to acknowledge Perez, ABC Special Projects Director Gayle Engels, and ABC Chief Science Officer Stefan Gafner, PhD, for their contributions to this project. By Hannah Baumana and Maegan Davisb a HerbalGram Associate Editor b ABC Dietetics Intern (Texas State, 2016) Overview West Indian lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus, Poaceae) is an aromatic tropical perennial with long, slender, light green leaves that grow in groups with bulbous and fibrous stems at the base of the plant.1-3 The grass can grow from two to six feet tall, and its leaves are approximately one inch wide with slightly toothed, saw-like margins.2 West Indian lemongrass likely originated from India, Malaysia, or Sri Lanka.1,2,4,5 It is now cultivated in tropical and subtropical countries.4 The largest exporter of lemongrass leaves and stalks is Guatemala,5 while India is the largest producer of lemongrass essential oil, 80% of which is exported annually.6 Lemongrass grows well in warm and humid areas with plenty of sunshine and moisture.4 The leaves and fleshy part of the stem are used for flavoring teas and broths in many Asian cuisines, and its essential oil is used in cosmetics and food preservation.1-3 Phytochemicals and Constituents West Indian lemongrass contains an array of electrolytes and minerals, including potassium, sodium, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. It also contains vitamin C, as well as the B vitamins niacin, pyridoxine, riboflavin, and folate.3 It has high carbohydrate content, and its leaves are high in crude fiber.4 The bioactive compounds in lemongrass include saponins, tannins, flavonoids, phenols, and alkaloids, as well as its essential or volatile oil compounds: monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, including aldehydes, alcohols, and esters.7 The essential oil has shown antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic, and antioxidant activities. The strong scent of lemongrass is attributed to citral, a compound that accounts for 65-85% of the essential oil. The quick metabolism and excretion rate of citral results in no significant bioaccumulation of the compound.7 In cultured cells, citral has been shown to increase the activity of the enzyme glutathione S-transferase, which is involved in the elimination of xenobiotics (i.e., molecules that are foreign to the human body7), but it is not clear to what extent, if any, this experimental research might relate to human metabolism of preparations containing lemongrass essential oil. Lemongrass essential oil also contains linalool, menthol, eugenol, geraniol, myrcene, and cinnamic aldehyde — all of which have antibacterial effects. Among these, cinnamic aldehyde possesses the greatest antimicrobial activity, while linalool provides the strongest antibacterial activity. Citral, geraniol, and myrcene exhibit the strongest antifungal activity.7 Historical and Commercial Uses Traditionally, lemongrass has been used as a food ingredient, in cosmetics, and in folk medicine. Lemongrass is also used as a flavoring for non-alcoholic beverages, prepared dishes, and baked goods, and the essential oil has been used to preserve food due to its antimicrobial activities.3 Lemongrass decoction is a popular beverage served hot or cold in Peru, Brazil, Cuba, and India.3,4 In Thailand, lemongrass is known as takrai and commonly is used in Thai dishes such as curries, soups such as tom kha, and in marinades for meat. In Vietnam, lemongrass is added to salads, and in Java, it is used to prepare a sherbet.4 Its aromatic oil is prized in soaps, perfumes, candles, and mosquito or insect repellents. Lemongrass has a history of medicinal use among several cultures worldwide for a variety of conditions including digestive disorders, fevers, menstrual disorders, joint pain, inflammation, and nervous conditions.4 In the Philippines, lemongrass tea is used to soothe stress, alleviate colds, fevers, and gastrointestinal distress, and manage pain and arthritis. In the Paraná state in southern Brazil, lemongrass is a preferred herbal medicine for pain relief and to sedate or calm the central nervous system. In India, Cuba, Indonesia, and Brazil, lemongrass infusions/teas are used to treat bladder disorders (including inflammatory conditions of the urinary tract), urinary incontinence, and kidney stones.7 In Nigeria, hot water extracts of lemongrass are used to treat hypertension, obesity, and diabetes mellitus. It is also used there in the treatment of malaria, to lower fevers, and to kill protozoa. Modern Research Lemongrass has traditional uses as an antibacterial, antifungal, antiprotozoal, anxiolytic, and antioxidant. Though there are few human clinical trials at the time of this writing (September 2017), modern pharmacological research has investigated lemongrass preparations for a variety of conditions and uses: to prevent platelet aggregation, treat malaria, alleviate digestive upset, and treat metabolic disorders including dyslipidemia, as well as colds, flu, and pneumonia.7 As is the case with most botanical materials, both in vitro and in vivo studies on lemongrass suggest that its reported therapeutic properties are most likely the result of a synergy of many compounds rather than a single compound. Antimicrobial, Antifungal, and Antiviral Properties The essential oils derived from the steam-distillation of lemongrass leaves have shown activity against 20 different bacteria (including Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus vulgaris, Enterobacter faecalis, Salmonella, and Shigella), seven different yeasts (including Candida albicans), and 15 different fungi (including common food-storage fungi).7-9 In vitro studies have shown that lemongrass essential oil can be more effective than antibiotics against a certain pathogenic bacteria. Lemongrass oil appears to increase the range of action of phenoxyethanol (a preservative for pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and home care products) against E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.7 As antibiotic resistance becomes more common, the use of lemongrass essential oil shows promise in the control of a wide range of bacterial infections.8 Citral, linalool, myrcene, and geraniol, which are present in lemongrass essential oil, have antifungal properties. In vitro studies with Candida albicans demonstrate linalool’s ability to reduce cell size and cause abnormal germination, which inhibits the ability of Candida species to replicate efficiently. Citral appears to inhibit both mycelial and yeast-form growth of C. albicans. These effects could lead to the reduction and potential inhibition of the biofilm formation necessary for Candida species to thrive.7 A 0.1% concentration of lemongrass oil completely inhibited herpes simplex virus-1 replication in vitro.7 In a small, randomized, controlled trial, lemongrass tea was found to effectively treat oral thrush (a fungal infection of the mucous membranes of the mouth that is caused by Candida species) in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).10 Antioxidant Properties Lemongrass is a good source of protective antioxidant compounds such as vitamin C and flavonoids.7 In the food industry, there has been increased interest in natural methods of food preservation, and essential oils derived from plants can be used to inhibit microorganisms that cause food spoilage and shorten the shelf-life of food products.9 The strong inhibitory effects of lemongrass essential oil against a wide variety of pathogens, combined with its antioxidant potential, make it a potential food preservative.7,9 An in vitro study demonstrated the protective effects of lemongrass against hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress and liver damage. Lemongrass intake was associated with a decrease in hydrogen peroxide-induced elevation of liver enzymes and a reduction of oxidative stress-induced pathological changes.7 In a rat study, citral isolated from lemongrass was shown to enhance detoxification in the liver by inducing glutathione S-transferase, an enzyme involved in the detoxification process. Gastroprotective Properties In another rat study, lemongrass was investigated for its gastroprotective benefits. A lemongrass extract was found to have protective effects against stomach lesions.11 A similar study investigated the effects of lemongrass essential oil against damage caused by ethanol and aspirin exposure.12 The essential oil showed a protective effect against ethanol- and aspirin-induced lesions. For people who regularly consume alcohol or use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), these results suggest that lemongrass oil may help protect the lining of the stomach, which can be damaged by use of NSAIDs and alcohol. Anxiolytic Properties In aromatherapy, lemongrass essential oil often is used as a mood enhancer.7 While some studies support lemongrass’s sedative and anxiety-reducing effects on the central nervous system, these effects have not been consistently demonstrated. Studies on lemongrass aqueous root extract and methanolic leaf extract have demonstrated anxiolytic effects.13,14 These effects could be related to the flavonoids, alkaloids, and terpenoids present in lemongrass extracts, all of which have been associated, in other plant extracts, with reduced anxiety.14 Empirical studies show that inhalation of lemongrass essential oil has an inhibitory effect on the central nervous system by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. This suggests that the anxiolytic effects of lemongrass essential oils may be mediated by acting upon the GABA-benzodiazepine interaction complex.7,15 Neuropharmacological Properties Lemongrass water extracts (teas or broths) contain neuroprotective nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, and folate, which are associated with improved memory, concentration, and information processing.7 In a mouse study, lemongrass essential oil was found to be three times more effective than sodium thiopental, a common anesthetic, at prolonging sleep. Additionally, lemongrass essential oil has been shown to raise the seizure threshold and reduce convulsive episodes in rats and should be further investigated for use in managing epilepsy in humans. Hypoglycemic and Hyperlipidemic Properties A rat study examined the effects of oral intake of three different doses of lemongrass tea on weight reduction, serum cholesterol levels, and fasting plasma glucose.16 Researchers observed a dose-dependent reduction in weight, with the higher dose leading to a greater weight reduction, and the maintenance of low blood glucose levels. Additionally, this study reported a significant, dose-dependent reduction in levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol, while high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol increased significantly. Levels of triglycerides were unaffected. In a small open-label human clinical trial, effects of lemongrass tea on 31 patients with hypertension were observed. Participants were given a lemongrass infusion twice daily for 16 weeks. Lemongrass tea intake had a significant effect on reducing blood pressure, but no significant effect on heart rate or other recorded study parameters.4 Consumer Considerations There is conflicting and inconclusive evidence regarding the toxicity of lemongrass. Citral has been found to cause skin irritation such as contact dermatitis.3,17 In the European Union (EU), citral is one of 26 likely allergens identified by the EU Cosmetics Regulation, and all cosmetic and home care products that contain lemongrass oil or extract must state this on the label.18 Additionally, citral appears to induce hepatic cytochrome P450 activity, potentially causing prescription drugs and medications to be metabolized more quickly, which may cause adverse effects, depending on the medication. There are also reports that citral and myrcene may adversely affect embryos.3,17 Potential adverse effects on the kidneys are inconclusive, but high doses or prolonged use of citral (and, by extension, lemongrass) could be toxic to the kidneys. Liver studies also have been conflicting and inconclusive. It is recommended that individuals with kidney damage or liver disease, who are pregnant or lactating, and children under the age of six should be cautious when using lemongrass.3,17 Lemongrass is a widely cultivated tropical perennial that has been evaluated for its ability to improve soil stability and eliminate potentially harmful substances from soils and farm field runoff.6 This wastewater often contains salts, pathogens, heavy metals, and other pollutants that may contaminate the food web, posing serious health threats to human and animal health. The use of fibrous-rooted plants like lemongrass and other large, clumping members of the grass family to sequester harmful chemicals and prevent them from entering waterways is a key practice in bioremediation. Agricultural studies report that lemongrass and other aromatic crops can be grown in soils contaminated by heavy metals without resulting in a significant transfer from the soil into the essential oil fraction of the plant. The heat required for steam distillation kills pathogens and reduces the transfer or uptake of any heavy metals into the essential oil product. Lemongrass grown on contaminated sites produces essential oils that are deemed safe for therapeutic use and may be appropriate for most non-edible purposes such as cosmetics and perfumes. Nutrient Profile19 Macronutrient Profile: (Per 1 ounce [approx. 28 grams] fresh lemongrass) 28 calories 1 g protein 7 g carbohydrate 0 g fat Secondary Metabolites: (Per 1 ounce [approx. 28 grams] fresh lemongrass) Excellent source of: Manganese: 1.5 mg (75% DV) Very good source of: Iron: 2.3 mg (12.8% DV) Good source of: Potassium: 202 mg (5.7% DV) Folate: 22 mcg (5.5% DV) Also provides: Magnesium: 16.8 mg (4.2% DV) Phosphorus: 28.3 mg (2.9% DV) Riboflavin: 0.04 mg (2.4% DV) Calcium: 18.2 mg (1.8% DV) Niacin: 0.3 mg (1.5% DV) Thiamin: 0.02 mg (1.3% DV) Vitamin C: 0.7 mg (1.2% DV) Vitamin B6: 0.02 mg (1% DV) DV = Daily Value as established by the US Food and Drug Administration, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Recipe: Green Curry Paste Courtesy of Bon Appétit20 For more information on the beneficial properties of shallot,21 ginger,22 coriander,23 and cumin,24 please see their respective Food as Medicine articles. Ingredients: 2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer layers removed 12 serrano chiles, seeds removed and roughly chopped 1 large shallot, peeled and chopped 4 garlic cloves, peeled 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced 2-inch piece of fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped; or 1 teaspoon dried turmeric 1 makrut lime leaf, very finely chopped (optional) 1 teaspoon each ground coriander, ground cumin, kosher salt, and sugar Directions: Grate the softer inner core of the lemongrass stalks into a food processor or mortar bowl. Add remaining ingredients and process or pound with the pestle until a smooth paste forms. Curry paste can be frozen for up to three months. Combine 1-2 tablespoons with one can of coconut milk for the base of a curry dish. All photo credits: ©2017 Steven Foster References Van Wyk B. Food Plants of the World: An Illustrated Guide. Portland, OR: Timber Press; 2015. National Geographic. Edible: An Illustrated Guide to the World’s Food Plants. Washington DC: National Geographic; 2008. Ekpenyong CE, Akpan EE, Daniel NE. Phytochemical constituents, therapeutic applications and toxicological profile of Cymbopogon citratus Stapf (DC) leaf extract. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 2014;3(1):133-141. Nambiar V, Matela H. Potential functions of lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) in health and disease. International Journal of Pharmaceutical & Biological Archives. 2012;3(5):1035-1043. Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. Lemongrass Production. Pretoria, South Africa: Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries; 2012. Lal K, Yadav RK, Kaur R, et al. Productivity, essential oil yield, and heavy metal accumulation in lemon grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) under varied wastewater-groundwater irrigation regimes. Industrial Crops and Products. 2013;45:270-278. Ekpenyong CE, Akpan E, Nyoh A. Ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry, and biological activities of Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf extracts. Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines. 2015;13(5):321-337. Naik MI, Fomda BA, Jaykumar E, Bhat JA. Antibacterial activity of lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) oil against some selected pathogenic bacterias. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine. 2010;3(7):535-538. Boukhatem MN, Kameli A, Ferhat MA, Saidi F, Tayebi K. The food preservative potential of essential oils: Is lemongrass the answer? Journal of Consumer Protection and Food Safety. 2014;9(1):13-21. Wright SC, Maree J, Sibanyoni M. Treatment of oral thrush in HIV/AIDS patients with lemon juice and lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) and gentian violet. Phytomedicine. 2009;16(2-3):118-124. Sagradas J, Costa G, Figueirinha A, et al. Gastroprotective effect of Cymbopogon citratus infusion on ethanol-induced gastric lesions in rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2015;173:134-138. Fernandes CN, De Souza HF, De Oliveria G, Costa JGM, Kerntopf MR, Campos AR. Investigation of the mechanisms underlying the gastroprotective effect of Cymbopogon citratus essential oil. Journal of Young Pharmacists. 2012;4(1):28-32. Shah G, Shiri R, Dhabiliya F, Nagpal N, Mann AS. Anti-anxiety activity of Cymbopogon citratus (dc.) stapf leaves extracts on the elevated plus-maze model of anxiety in mice. Pharmacognosy Journal. 2010;2(15):45-50. Arome D, Enegide C, Ameh SF. Pharmacological evaluation of anxiolytic property of aqueous root extract of Cymbopogon citratus in mice. Chronicles of Young Scientists. 2014;5(1):33-38. Costa C, Kohn DO, Martins de Lima V, Gargano AC, Flório JC, Costa M. The GABAergic system contributes to the anxiolytic-like effect of essential oil from Cymbopogon citratus (lemongrass). Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2011;137(1):828-836. Adeneye AA, Agbaje EO. Hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects of fresh leaf aqueous extract of Cymbopogon citratus Stapf. in rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2007;112(3): 440-444. Gardner Z, McGuffin M, eds. American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook. 2nd ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2013. Opinion on fragrance allergens in cosmetic products. Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety. Brussels, Belgium: European Union Health and Consumers Scientific Committees. June 2012. Basic Report: 11972, Lemon grass (citronella), raw. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28: United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Available at: Accessed September 18, 2017. Morocco C. Green curry paste. Bon Appétit. August 2016. Available at: Accessed September 18, 2017. Bauman H, Applegate C. Food as Medicine: Shallot (Allium cepa var. aggregatum, Amaryllidaceae). HerbalEGram. 2017;14(2). Available at: Accessed September 18, 2017. Bauman H, Hill K. Food as Medicine: Ginger (Zingiber officinale, Zingiberaceae). HerbalEGram. 2015;12(3). Available at: Accessed September 18, 2017. Bauman H, Seibert J. Food as Medicine: Coriander/Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum, Apiaceae). HerbalEGram. 2015;12(6). Available at: Accessed September 18, 2017. Bauman H, Woo T. Food as Medicine: Cumin (Cuminum cyminum, Apiaceae). HerbalEGram. 2016;13(10). Available at: Accessed September 18, 2017.

Men, get ready to be uncomfortable for a while. While forgiveness may come one day, it won’t be soon.

The Unforgiving Minute Getty, CSA Images/Mod Art Collection This story was funded by Longreads Members Laurie Penny | Longreads | November 2017 | 12 minutes (3,175 words) “I’m sick of being asked to suffer so a man can grow.” – Alexandra Petri “Everyone. Fucking. Knew.” – Scott Rosenberg This is actually happening. The so-called “revelations” about endemic male sexual aggression in Hollywood, in the media, in politics, in the tech world, and in communities large and small have not stopped, despite every conceivable effort to dismiss, discredit, shame, and belittle the survivors coming forward to demand a different world. The most uncomfortable revelation is the fact that none of this, really, was that revelatory. A great many people knew. Maybe they didn’t know all of it, but they knew enough to feel tainted by a complicity that hobbled their compassion. It turns out that this isn’t about individual monsters. It never was. This is about structural violence, about a culture that decided long ago that women’s agency and dignity were worth sacrificing to protect the reputation of powerful men and the institutions that enabled their entitlement. Everyone, including the “good guys,” knew it was happening. We just didn’t think it was all that wrong. At least, not wrong enough to make a fuss about, because the people groping their callous, violent way through life knew they’d get away with it, and most of the men around them were permitted the luxury of ignorance. Except that now that seems to be changing. Now, Old Dinosaurs are wondering how to negotiate with an oncoming asteroid. Current or former Stupid Young Men are in a state of panic about their imminent introduction to the concept of “consequences,” leading to the question: what, precisely, is the age when men are expected to take responsibility for their behavior? The answer, with any luck, is “The Digital One.” Very few men seem sure what to do in this situation. I have been asked, repeatedly, what men and boys ought to be doing now. How should we behave differently? How guilty should we be feeling? What do women actually want? Good. You’re finally asking. I suspect that if more of you had asked that question earlier, if you’d asked it often, and if you’d paid attention to the answers, we wouldn’t have to have this conversation — which nobody wants to be having — right now. It’s a shame, honestly, that it had to come to this. But here we are, and here we’re going to stay while powerful scumbags all over the world take a break from public life to spend more time with the police, and while people who’ve nursed private hurts for years start putting the puzzle pieces together until they recognize the shape of injustice. I’m sorry; you’re new here. The notion that women’s agency and dignity might be more important than men’s right to act like grabby children whenever they want may feel like uncharted territory, but some of us have lived here all along. You don’t know your way around, and the whole place seems full of hidden terrors, and you’re tired and scared and being here makes you feel ignorant and powerless. You haven’t learned the language — they didn’t offer it at your school — and you wish you knew how to ask basic questions, like where is the nearest station, and how much is that sandwich, and do you know the name of a good defense lawyer? You wish you knew how to translate simple ideas, like: I’m hungry, and I’m lonely, and my entire life I’ve let my fear of women’s rejection control my behavior and that fear seemed so overwhelming that it didn’t matter who got hurt as long as I didn’t have to feel it and everyone else seemed to agree and now I don’t know who to be or how to act, or I think there’s a train leaving soon and I might need to be on it. Lately I’ve been spending a good deal of time at the help desk, pointing men in the direction of possible answers. I mind this sort of work less than most because it actually happens to be my job. I write about this for a living. I listen and I take notes. The messages wink on my phone in freakish chromagreen, like Gatsby’s lights across the harbor: men reaching out to a world of women they have never really known, across a gulf they don’t know if they’re brave enough to bridge. The notion that women’s agency and dignity might be more important than men’s right to act like grabby children whenever they want may feel like uncharted territory, but some of us have lived here all along. My friend’s husband wants to know if he did the right thing in standing up to a superior at work who said he was going to stop hiring “hot women” because he’d only want to assault them. My photographer friend wants to know why he didn’t listen properly to the rumors about predators in his industry, and if he can make up for that now. My environmental activist friend is worried that the stupid things he did as a teenager will obviate the work he’s doing today. Nobody wants to be having this conversation, but we need to have it. Avoidance of this conversation has shaped our culture; cultures are defined not only by the stories they tell, but also by the ones they don’t. It’s the negative space that gives definition to the picture we have of how men and women ought to live together — and that picture, of course, is the work of a series of old masters. We have built entire lives, families, and communities around the absence of this conversation. And yet here we are, having it anyway. So let’s deal with some common queries, the very first of which is: how do we handle what we know now about how women have been treated for so long? * * * This is a question in two parts. It’s a question about how men should now relate to women in particular, and to their own sexuality in general. It is also a question about how we all cope with the consequences. How do we deal with suspecting what we suspect, with knowing what we know about our own past behavior? The very first thing we must do is to continue to know it — to actively know it, rather than filing it away in the spam folder of our collective consciousness. We must stay here, in this difficult place. We must look at what we have done and allowed to be done to others, without flinching or making excuses. Last week, as a fresh set of allegations threatened to topple the British government, a radio host asked me if flirting is now banned. No. It isn’t. To the mainly-female people who are on the receiving end, the difference between flirting and harassment — between sex and rape — are extremely clear. To some of the mainly-male people who do these things, there appears to be no difference, and when you start to explain the difference they run, in short succession, out of excuses and out of the room. Shockingly, this conversation is not about you and your boner. The fact that a great many men I have spoken to genuinely seem to think that the main issue here is how and whether they’re going to be able to get laid in the future is… I’m going to swallow a scream, and say that it’s “interesting.” Shockingly, this conversation is not about you and your boner. But since the difference between sex and sexual violence apparently needs explaining, put both hands on the table for a second and listen. (Nobody here thinks that the entire arena of sexuality is necessarily dangerous and violent for women. Actually, no, that’s not true: plenty of people think that. Mostly male people who have spent generations imagining sex and violent conquest as one and the same, fetishizing the two together until the popular erotic imagination left little clear air between passion and assault. Some of us have been on the wrong end of that trajectory for so damn long that we’ve given up trying to find a way to be intimate with men that doesn’t cause us pain or risk our lives, and I imagine that those people, the vast majority of whom are women, do think of the male sex itself as inherently treacherous, unsalvageable, and irredeemably violent.) Sex, however, is not the problem. Sexism is the problem, as is the fact that a great many men seem unable to tell the difference. It is maddening, the way those of us who complain about abuse are accused of trying to shut down sex and sexuality, as if we’d ever been allowed to be active sexual participants, as if abuse and the fear of abuse hadn’t made pleasurable sex all but impossible for so many of us. Sex is not the problem, but for some people sexism itself has become eroticized, and that, yes, is a problem. “It’s not flirtation that any of us take issue with,” said my best friend, late one night after another round of exhausting emotional work trying to shore up the shuddering self-image of the men we know so they don’t collapse on top of us. “It’s entitlement. Projection. Objectification. We know when we’re being dehumanized. Good flirting is the kind where they see us. They won’t know how to flirt the right way until they start unlearning how to look at us.” John Berger famously said that “men look at women, and women watch themselves being looked at.” I’m sick of being looked at. I want to be seen. There are none so emotionally blind as those who look at a person standing right in front of them and see a mirror, not a window. Many of the men I have talked to about this have begun of their own volition to speak about “no longer objectifying women.” To wonder whether they should just stop looking at pretty women at all, if the act of desiring another person is itself violent. It’s very sad that that confusion has arisen; it should be possible to want someone without dehumanizing them. But we have apparently created a world where it is incredibly difficult for a man to desire a woman and treat her as a human being at the same time. So no, we are not trying to outlaw sexuality. We are trying to liberate it. You ask how the species is going to survive if we have to constantly check for consent before we get to the means of reproduction, but I promise you that the species has more pressing problems than that. * * * The biggest missing piece of this picture is women’s desire. If femme and female citizens were allowed to actually articulate our own desires then we could skip a few lessons and move straight to the advanced level of learning-to-treat-women-as-people, the one where we talk about managing our feelings like grown-ups. Some men I speak to are worried, now, that “having to ask” will mean more rejection. I would draw attention to the fact that even as women everywhere are confessing to crimes others have committed against them, describing lifetimes of humiliation and hurt, still the second or third thought on some men’s minds is anxiety about whether this will affect their chances of getting laid. I understand that you are terrified of rejection. Join the club. Rejection is the worst. So awful that an entire architecture of quiet violence, shame, and blame has been built up to help men avoid it. If women’s desire is absent from this conversation — if women are not thought of as desiring beings, if female desire is so terrifying we can barely speak of it without nervous laughter — then yes, we are going to remain confused about the difference between seduction and assault. That confusion is not human nature. Human nature is a lazy excuse for not doing the work of change here, and I’m sick of hearing it. Men who believe they cannot change are already being shown up every day by the growing number of their fellow male humans who have changed, who are changing. We can rewrite the sexual script of humanity. We’ve done it before. Unfortunately, we are in one of those rare and curious moments where we have to do something unfair and hurtful in order to answer decades of pain and injustice. We didn’t want to have to make an example of anyone. We tried to ask nicely for our humanity and dignity. We tried to put it gently. Nobody gave a shit. Now that there are consequences, now that there is finally, for once, some sort of price to pay for treating women like interchangeable pieces of flesh and calling it romance, you’re paying attention. This is what happens when women actively place their own needs first. The whole damn world freaks out. I don’t blame you for freaking out right now. I’m freaking out. I didn’t expect this to happen so fast. We didn’t want to have to make an example of anyone. We tried to ask nicely for our humanity and dignity. We tried to put it gently. Nobody gave a shit. You were led to believe that when it came to sex — and it somehow always came to sex — women weren’t people in quite the same way as you. You were taught that sex was a commodity you could acquire by bargaining, badgering, pestering, or force. You were never told that is was wrong to do these things. Well, you were told, but not often, or not by anyone who mattered. That all feels unfair to you, though it was far less fair — and a lot more dangerous — to us. It also feels unfair that some men who have hurt women will be made examples of in their communities and workplaces while others who have done the same will escape, for now. It feels unfair that the cost of mistakes you made in your youth may well be professional respect, job security, money, and power. But it has been a lot less fair for a lot longer for people who were hurt and humiliated, disrespected and degraded, and who were expected to choose between shameful silence and blowing up their careers or communities by speaking out. For so long, women have been confessing to crimes men have committed and being punished accordingly. That, I think you’ll agree, is truly unfair. * * * You are wondering if forgiveness is possible. If amnesty is on the horizon. If you fish your crimes out of the past and lay them dripping to dry in front of us will we accept you, forgive you, let you back into the loving female place you’ve been told is the only respite you’re allowed from the awfulness of the world? The answer will eventually be yes. Well, my answer will eventually be yes. I can’t speak for everyone, ever, and particularly not in this case, as I’m pathologically forgiving and have often been told by people who care about my wellbeing that my life would be better if I didn’t let the men in it get away with quite so much bullshit because I expect no better. Still, my answer will always eventually be yes, yes, you are forgiven. But I’m just one person, and I’m not always a wise one, and even I can tell you that this is a bad fucking time to ask for forgiveness. Give it a while. There will be time for apologies. We have the rest of our lives to do this differently. There will be time to reach out to those you may have wronged and say that you were a younger and different person, you are sorry, you didn’t know, you tried not to know, you know now. There will be time to make it right, but it will take precisely that. It will take time. We want a flavor of equality that none of us have tasted before. What women like me want in the long term is for you to stop this shit and treat us like people. We want you to accept that you have done bad things, so that in the future you can do better. We want a flavor of equality that none of us have tasted before. We want to share it with you. We want a world where love and violence are not so easily confused. We want a species of sexuality that isn’t a game where we’re the prey to be hung bleeding on your bedroom wall. Right now, we also want to rage. We are not done describing all the ways this shit isn’t okay and hasn’t been okay for longer than you can believe. We want you to make space for our pain and anger before you start telling us how you’ve suffered, too, no, really you have. We are angry, and we are disappointed. Because you made everything precious in our lives conditional on not making a fuss. Because you behaved as if your right never to have to deal with anyone else’s emotions or learn the shape of your own was more important than our very humanity. Because you made us carry the weight of all the hurt that had ever been done to you, and then you praised us for being so strong. Because we tried for so long to believe the best of you, because it felt like we had no other option. I promise you will survive our rage. We have lived in fear of yours for so long. Stay here, in this difficult place. Stay here actively. Breathe through the discomfort and pay attention to what it’s telling you. Listen to women. Believe women. There will be a lot to learn, and a lot more to unlearn. Sure, we can draw up a list of rules, and in the short term it might even help. Don’t make someone’s job conditional on allowing you to grab and hassle her when you’re drunk. Don’t fuck people who are unconscious. Don’t assume that any woman who’s made the barest effort with her hair and makeup has thereby given anyone within ass-patting distance an invitation. I can go on. I wish I didn’t have to. You’ve just arrived in this strange new country where women are human beings whose lives and feelings matter and while you find your way around, yes, it’s useful to memorise a few key phrases. May I kiss you? Ok, that’s fine. Do you like this? Do you want me? Here’s what I want; what do you want? You can sound out the shapes of these sentences, but teaching you is a lot of effort, and frankly in the long run it’d be much less work for everyone involved if you’d just learn the language yourselves. Just think of the interesting conversations we could have in a rhetoric of mutual humanity. Think on that, and be brave. Have the goddamn courage to admit that you got it wrong, so that you can start getting it right. There’s a train leaving soon. It makes a few stops on the way to a less monstrous future, and I advise you to be on it. Previously: The Horizon of Desire We’re All Mad Here: Weinstein, Women, and the Language of Lunacy * * * Laurie Penny is an award-winning journalist, essayist, public speaker, writer, activist, internet nanocelebrity and author of six books. Her most recent book, Bitch Doctrine, was published by Bloomsbury in 2017.

Shakespearean medicine

Jennifer Evans‏ @HistorianJen The latest Shakespeare Magazine (FREE to download) contains a piece by @saralread and me on Shakespearean medicine

Kava: The NFL's newest and safest painkiller

Pilot Study of the Tart Cherry Juice for the Treatment of Insomnia and Investigation of Mechanisms.

Am J Ther. 2017 Mar 27. doi: 10.1097/MJT.0000000000000584. [Epub ahead of print] Losso JN1, Finley JW, Karki N, Liu AG, Prudente A, Tipton R, Yu Y, Greenway FL. Author information 1 1Department of Food Science, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, LA; 2Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge, LA; and 3BASF Corporation San Gabriel, LA. Abstract BACKGROUND: Insomnia is common in the elderly and is associated with chronic disease, but use of hypnotics increases the incidence of falls. Montmorency tart cherry juice has improved insomnia by self-report questionnaire. STUDY QUESTION: Is insomnia confirmed by polysomnography and is tryptophan availability a potential mechanism for treating insomnia? STUDY DESIGN: A placebo-controlled balanced crossover study with subjects older than 50 years and insomnia were randomized to placebo (2 weeks) or cherry juice (2 weeks) (240 mL 2 times/d) separated by a 2-week washout. MEASURES AND OUTCOMES: Sleep was evaluated by polysomnography and 5 validated questionnaires. Serum indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), the kynurenine-to-tryptophan ratio, and prostaglandin E2 were measured. In vitro, Caco-2 cells were stimulated with interferon-gamma, and the ability of cherry juice procyanidin to inhibit IDO which degrades tryptophan and stimulates inflammation was measured. The content of procyanidin B-2 and other major anthocyanins in cherry juice were determined. RESULTS: Eleven subjects were randomized; 3 with sleep apnea were excluded and referred. The 8 completers with insomnia increased sleep time by 84 minutes on polysomnography (P = 0.0182) and sleep efficiency increased on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (P = 0.03). Other questionnaires showed no significant differences. The serum kynurenine-to-tryptophan ratio decreased, as did the level of prostaglandin E2 (both P < 0.05). In vitro, cherry juice procyanidin B-2 dose-dependently inhibited IDO. CONCLUSIONS: Cherry juice increased sleep time and sleep efficiency. Cherry juice procyanidin B-2 inhibited IDO, increased tryptophan availability, reduced inflammation, and may be partially responsible for improvement in insomnia.

Multi-Omics and Integrated Network Analyses Reveal New Insights into the Systems Relationships between Metabolites, Structural Genes, and Transcriptional Regulators in Developing Grape Berries (Vitis vinifera L.) Exposed to Water Deficit.

Front Plant Sci. 2017 Jul 10;8:1124. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.01124. eCollection 2017. Savoi S1,2, Wong DCJ3, Degu A4, Herrera JC1, Bucchetti B1, Peterlunger E1, Fait A4, Mattivi F2,5, Castellarin SD3. Author information 1 Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of UdineUdine, Italy. 2 Department of Food Quality and Nutrition, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund MachSan Michele all'Adige, Italy. 3 Wine Research Centre, The University of British Columbia, VancouverBC, Canada. 4 The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the NegevSede Boqer, Israel. 5 Center Agriculture Food Environment, University of TrentoSan Michele all'Adige, Italy. Abstract Grapes are one of the major fruit crops and they are cultivated in many dry environments. This study comprehensively characterizes the metabolic response of grape berries exposed to water deficit at different developmental stages. Increases of proline, branched-chain amino acids, phenylpropanoids, anthocyanins, and free volatile organic compounds have been previously observed in grape berries exposed to water deficit. Integrating RNA-sequencing analysis of the transcriptome with large-scale analysis of central and specialized metabolites, we reveal that these increases occur via a coordinated regulation of key structural pathway genes. Water deficit-induced up-regulation of flavonoid genes is also coordinated with the down-regulation of many stilbene synthases and a consistent decrease in stilbenoid concentration. Water deficit activated both ABA-dependent and ABA-independent signal transduction pathways by modulating the expression of several transcription factors. Gene-gene and gene-metabolite network analyses showed that water deficit-responsive transcription factors such as bZIPs, AP2/ERFs, MYBs, and NACs are implicated in the regulation of stress-responsive metabolites. Enrichment of known and novel cis-regulatory elements in the promoters of several ripening-specific/water deficit-induced modules further affirms the involvement of a transcription factor cross-talk in the berry response to water deficit. Together, our integrated approaches show that water deficit-regulated gene modules are strongly linked to key fruit-quality metabolites and multiple signal transduction pathways may be critical to achieve a balance between the regulation of the stress-response and the berry ripening program. This study constitutes an invaluable resource for future discoveries and comparative studies, in grapes and other fruits, centered on reproductive tissue metabolism under abiotic stress. KEYWORDS: RNA-sequencing; abiotic stress; central metabolism; drought; fruit quality; grapevine; ripening; specialized metabolism PMID: 28740499 PMCID: PMC5502274 DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2017.01124 Free PMC Article Images from this publication.See all images (8)Free text

Cranberries for Preventing Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections in Uncircumcised Boys

Altern Ther Health Med. 2016 Nov;22(6):20-23. . Wan KS, Liu CK, Lee WK, Ko MC, Huang CS. Abstract Background • Highly concentrated cranberry juice has long been considered to have protective properties against urinary tract infections (UTIs), on the basis of its content of cranberry proanthocyanidins, with A-type interflavan bonds. Objective • This study intended to evaluate the benefits of a highly concentrated cranberry juice for the prevention of repeated episodes of UTI in uncircumcised boys. Design • The study was a randomized, controlled trial. Setting • The study took place at Taipei City Hospital, Renai and Zhongxing Branches (Taipei City, Taiwan). Participants • Participants were 55 uncircumcised boys and 12 circumcised boys, aged 6 to 18 y, with histories of uncomplicated UTI, who were patients at the hospital. Intervention • The uncircumcised boys were randomly divided into 2 groups: (1) group 1 (n = 28) took 4 oz (120 mL) daily of cranberry juice for 6 mo; and (2) group 2 (n = 27), the negative control group, drank a placebo juice for 6 months. The circumcised boys in group 3, a positive control group, also drank a placebo juice for 6 mo. Outcome Measures • The time to UTI (ie, to the appearance of symptoms plus pyuria) was the main outcome. Asymptomatic bacteriuria, adherence to the treatment, and adverse effects were assessed at monthly visits. Results • After 6 mo of a prophylactic treatment with cranberry juice, the incidence of bacteriuria, mainly Escherichia coli, as shown in urine cultures at ≥1 × 105, were 25% (7/28), 37% (10/27), and 33.3% (4/12) in groups 1, 2 and 3, respectively. The comparisons of the rate of prevention of a recurrence of UTI between group 1 and group 2 and between group 1 and group 3 showed that group 1 had fewer recurrent episodes of UTI. No children withdrew from the study. No adverse events or side effects were recorded. Conclusions • Cranberry juice may reduce the number of repeated episodes of UTI in uncircumcised boys and may have beneficial effects against the growth of Gram-negative bacterial pathogens. Its preventive benefits against UTI in the uncircumcised boys were even higher than those of circumcision for the circumcised boys.

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Zea mays (purple) FAMILY NAME: Poeaceae COMMON NAME: purple corn

Monday, 27 November 2017

BBC News - The story behind Paddington's calypso songs The story behind Paddington's calypso songs By Tim Masters Arts and entertainment correspondent, BBC News 28 November 2014 Paddington bearImage copyrightSTUDIO CANAL Image caption Ben Whishaw voices the marmalade-loving bear from 'darkest Peru' The director of the new Paddington movie explains how the film's soundtrack came to include classic calypso songs. As the Paddington film opens this weekend, audiences will be expecting plenty of mishaps involving a marmalade-loving bear from "darkest Peru". But they might be surprised at a soundtrack packed with calypso songs which hark back to the music of the immigrant community who were settling in Notting Hill - where Paddington bear makes his home - around the time when Michael Bond began writing his classic children's books. "My wife introduced me to this brilliant, but largely neglected music," explains the film's director, Paul King. "This is the music being made in the place where these books were written, by people who arrived on these shores. "It felt like such a glorious gift - they are really upbeat positive songs - for the most part - all about that experience." One of the songs King heard was Lord Kitchener's London is the Place for Me. Lord Kitchener, real name Aldwyn Roberts, was a Trinidadian musician among the passengers on the Empire Windrush, the ship which brought hundreds of Caribbean immigrants to the UK in 1948. Lord Kitchener Image caption Lord Kitchener on the BBC show Caribbean Cabaret in 1951 He sang London is the Place For Me to a Pathe News crew as he disembarked at Tilbury. The song, performed in the film by D Lime - featuring Tobago Crusoe - came to King's attention on a compilation from Blur frontman Damon Albarn's Honest Jon's record label. Inspired by what he heard, King emailed Albarn's agent and explained he was trying to track down some of the performers. "I expected no reply," he recalls. "Or I hoped for a name of someone who might be able to help. What I didn't expect was Damon to say he'd love to be involved, help put a band together and use his recording studio. "It's extraordinary how Paddington opens doors - people have such fondness for the character." Michael BondImage copyrightEPA Image caption Michael Bond's first Paddington book was published in 1958 - the 88-year-old author has a cameo in the film Ben Whishaw voices the bear in the live-action film, which also stars Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Peter Capaldi and Nicole Kidman as a villainous taxidermist. The film made headlines earlier this month when it was rated a PG by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). The calypso band that was put together to record the songs for the film make several on-screen appearances, including a snowy scene in Windsor Gardens, where Paddington lives with the Brown family. "It adds to the magic of our London that there's always a band playing the song that happens to reflect your feelings," says King. The director, who also co-wrote the screenplay and previously worked on The Mighty Boosh, makes the point that Paddington is an outsider who is trying to find a home. Michael Bond has said the character was partly-inspired by watching newsreels of children being evacuated from the capital during World War Two. The children wore a label around their necks and carried all their possessions in a suitcase. In the story, Paddington Bear arrives in London with the label: "Please look after this bear. Thank you." "Paddington is certainly an outsider and he's trying to find a home," explains King. "There's something special about London. Without trying to be political about it, big cities can feel like safe places for people who feel a little bit different. "If you have unusual tastes in music or fashion, or you're from a different group of people, big cities - certainly when I was growing up - felt like an exciting place to go because you could find like-minded people."

Call for Papers: Canadian Society for the History of Medicine 2018 –EXTENDED DEADLINE DECEMBER 8 Call for Papers Canadian Society for the History of Medicine (CSHM) 2018 May 26-28, University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada The CSHM will hold its annual meeting and conference on May 26-28 at the University of Regina, in conjunction with the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The Programme Committee calls for papers that address the theme of this year’s Congress: “Gathering Diversities.” Scholars are invited to give papers related to diversity in the history of medicine, health and healing; or that address historical experiences of patient diversity and equity (gender, race, sexuality, ability). Proposals on topics unrelated to the Congress theme are also welcome. Please submit an abstract and one-page CV for consideration by 20 November 2017 by e-mail to Esyllt Jones, Abstracts must not exceed 350 words. We encourage proposals for organised panels of three (3) related papers; in this case, please submit a panel proposal of less than 350 words in addition to an abstract and one-page CV from each presenter. The Committee will notify applicants of its decision by December 15, 2017. Those who accept an invitation to present at the meeting agree to provide French and English versions of the accepted abstract for inclusion in the bilingual Program Book. Appel de présentations, Société canadienne d’histoire de la médecine (SCHM) 2018 –APPEL A CONTRIBUTION JUSQU’AU 8 DÉCEMBRE Le 26-28 mai, Université de Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada La SCHM tiendra son congrès annuel le 26-28 mai à l’Université de Regina, dans le cadre du Congrès des sciences humaines. Le comité du programme fait un appel de présentations sur le thème du congrès cette année : « Rassembler les diversités ». Les chercheurs sont invités à offrir une présentation se rapportant à la diversité dans l’histoire de la médecine, de la santé et de la guérison, ou qui considère des exemples historiques de diversité et d’équité chez les patients (sexe, race, sexualité, capacité). Les présentations sur des thèmes sans rapport avec le thème du Congrès sont également les bienvenues. Veuillez envoyer un résumé et un CV d’une page pour examen avant le 20 novembre 2017 par courriel à Esyllt Jones, Les résumés ne doivent pas dépasser 350 mots. Nous encourageons les propositions de présentations en groupes de trois (3) documents connexes; pour ces cas, veuillez soumettre une proposition de table ronde de moins de 350 mots en plus d’un résumé et d’un CV d’une page pour chaque présentateur. Le Comité avisera les demandeurs de sa décision d’ici le 15 décembre 2017. Ceux qui acceptent l’invitation à présenter au congrès s’engagent à fournir des versions française et anglaise du résumé qu’ils ont soumis pour l’inclusion dans le programme bilingue du congrès Laurence Monnais Professeur titulaire - Département d'histoire Directrice – Centre d’Etudes de l’Asie de l’Est (CETASE) Directrice scientifique – Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal (PUM) Chercheur - Equipe MEOS - Institut de recherche en santé publique de l’Université de Montréal (IRSPUM) Université de Montréal C.P. 6128 Succ. Centre-ville MONTREAL, QC, CANADA H3C 3J7 Tél : 514-343-6544

‘Honey, I’m related to Genghis Khan’: the hype around ancestral DNA testing

What is Citizen Science anyway? Introduction to the new blog symposium “Citizen Science”

Posted on May 1, 2017 by Petrie-Flom Center We are pleased to present this symposium featuring commentary from participants in the “Critical Studies of Citizen Science in Biomedical Research” conference held on the March 2, 2017, at King’s College London. Organized by different projects concerned with citizen science in Kiel (A. Buyx) & London (B. Prainsack), Exeter (S. Leonelli), and Geneva (B. Strasser), the event took a critical look at the role of citizen science in biomedical research in the 21st Century. Presenters from the event give us a peek into their work in the forthcoming posts, which will appear daily. By Barbara Prainsack, Alena Buyx, and Amelia Fiske As many of our teachers have told us, and as we have repeated told to our students: if you have to insist that you are engaging in a “critical” analysis, then something is wrong. We should be able to assume that as social scientists, ethicists, or scholars more generally we always take a critical distance to our materials. So why did we call a meeting on citizen science in biomedicine “critical studies of”? The reason was one of emphasis: we wanted to bring together people who were not merely cheerleaders for citizen science, offering analyses that remove friction points in the name of making citizen science even better (whatever ‘better’ might mean in this respect). Instead, we were looking for work that challenges the very assumptions portraying citizen science as novel and noteworthy, or as something particularly problematic and in need of ethical attention. We did so not because we necessarily disagree with these portrayals, but because we felt that we should pay as much attention to continuities as to discontinuities; to old practices as well as to new ones; and to offline as well as online collaboration in scientific knowledge creation. We felt that only if we explored the values and goals underpinning practices and initiatives that use the label “citizen science” can we approach the questions that matter most to us: How do these practices change the distribution of power between different actors? Who is (dis)empowered by them? Who or what gains visibility, and who or what is obscured? What new patterns of inclusion or exclusion emerge as a result? We have long been interested in the concept of solidarity and its role in biomedicine (see our new book with Cambridge University Press), and we wanted to know if some of the citizen science initiatives could be seen as emerging forms of solidaristic practice. We have been very fortunate with the contributors to our conference, as readers will see in the blog posts in this symposium. There was broad consensus that the term citizen science should not be used to explain anything, but rather as a term in need of explanation: If a person or project uses the term as a label for their own practices or projects, we should take a close look at what types of participation is involved, by whom, and for what purposes. This will prevent us from assuming that participation always empowers those who participate, and it will direct our gaze towards those who may be excluded. We encourage everyone to read through the published and forthcoming individual contributions to this symposium to learn more about the specific arguments that were made about practices as diverse as self-reporting and self-tracking (Mahr and Heyen respectively), the historical origins of participatory research (Strasser & Mahr, and Frezza & Capocci), the problematic distinction between data ‘collectors’ and data ‘experts’ (Leonelli), about participation as a collaborative experiment in technoscience (Bogdanov & Aibar), participatory science in the Antarctic (Heggie) and on the ocean (Halfmann), and about citizen science in the context of precision medicine (Galasso & Testa). In the following section we would like to present some insights obtained from our own project on public participation in medicine and healthcare. Let us start with the positive effects of ‘citizen science’ in biomedicine. In the first place is the widening participation enabled by ICT and digital and social media. It is important to remember that the ICT revolution and the proliferation of digital social media do not mark the beginning of citizen science in biomedicine. Instead they mostly help patients and others to do things that they have already been doing, only more effectively, such as: connect to others with similar experiences; give and receive support; exchange information; keep diaries on functional changes, etc. Nevertheless, new ICT tools and digital media have rapidly and drastically increased the range of people who can participate in data collection and, where appropriate, data analysis and other tasks. Because large numbers of people can be reached in real time and at virtually no marginal cost, new ICT provides unique ways to find specialist problem solvers that are not part of established communities. Importantly, participatory web-based tools can improve services in remote or under resourced areas or contexts. Crowdsourcing tools are already heavily used in global health contexts (see here and here, for example). In second place is the emancipatory effect of crowdsourcing. The use of crowdfunding enables initiatives that would stand no chance of receiving traditional research funding. The British Gut project is an example of this: ‘Citizen scientists’ volunteer a sample and donate the money for analysis. While not all such projects may be good value for money, and some may be problematic, crowdfunding can help to bring positive change that would otherwise not be possible, including the emancipatory effect of moving decisions on what research is valuable out of the hands of established funders and institutions. .. Moving on to the less sanguine parts of our analysis: The flip side of the participation effect is that it is tempting to assume that widening participation alone makes medicine and science more democratic. Astra Taylor, Evgeny Morozov, and other authors have demonstrated in their work that formally equal access to digital technologies does not as such enhance democracy. It is often those who are already powerful who can make the most effective use of these technologies. In the biomedical field, web-based services such CureTogether give the illusion of being egalitarian and open to everybody; but what they do is increase data capture from selected groups of people who are using the platform. The ‘population’ that users compare themselves to is not a nation or a group who uses the same healthcare provider, but the select group of fellow platform users. Another development that we have observed is that ‘citizen science’ can be expected to fill the gap left by the retreat of public actors. When public funding for science and research is declining, then enthusiasm for volunteer contributions to scientific knowledge creation comes in handy. Crowdfunding is a variant of this. Moreover, as Hauke Riesch and colleagues have observed – albeit in a case study outside the field of biomedicine – some professional scientists worry that their work could partially be taken over by unpaid ‘citizen scientists’ in the near future. Our final observation is about ethics in and of ‘citizen science’. In contrast to the radical science movement of the 1960 and 1970 that foregrounded the question of how science is part of national, colonial, economic, and political projects, ethical discussions of contemporary citizen science focus largely on research ethics. Sometimes the suggestion is that ethical considerations are best addressed by crowdsourcing ethics reviews. This is problematic as we lose sight of some of the questions that matter most to our societies: Questions about the distribution of resources and power, about transparency and accountability, and about social and global justice and solidarity. Be Sociable, Share!

Food supplements with whole-leaf Aloe preparations containing anthranoids are associated with health risks

PUBLIC RELEASE: 14-NOV-2017 Food supplements BFR FEDERAL INSTITUTE FOR RISK ASSESSMENT In addition to Aloe barbadensis, however, other Aloe species are used for many different purposes. Inter alia, the sap of the pressed, whole, unpeeled leaves of Aloe arborescens (krantz aloe, candelabra aloe) is marketed in the form of food supplements. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has assessed the possible health risks of such food supplements. The outer layers of the leaves of Aloe arborescens are of toxicological relevance. As with all Aloe species, these layers contain plant-based anthranoids which have long been suspected of having a genotoxic and carcinogenic effect. In addition to data on the pure substances, tests have also been conducted in the meantime on anthranoid-containing preparations made from Aloe leaves. The results of these long-term studies also confirm the suspicion of carcinogenicity, but there are data gaps which should be closed with regard to the details and mechanisms of cancer development. The BfR comes to the following conclusion on the basis of the available data: according to the latest guidelines issued by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for the assessment of botanical preparations, products which contain preparations of the unpeeled leaves of Aloe arborescens, and thereby anthranoids, do not belong to the category of botanical food supplements which can be designated as being of "no safety concern" based on current knowledge. Due to the suspicion that plant-based anthranoids have a carcinogenic effect in humans, the BfR does not consider preparations containing anthranoids to be suitable for use in foods, including food supplements. This assessment does not apply to preparations made from anthranoid-free gel or inner pulp from the leaves of Aloe species (mostly Aloe barbadensis or Aloe vera), which are commonly used in foods and cosmetics in the EU. Anthranoids should generally not be present in foods in the view of the BfR. When producing foods with leaves of plants of the Aloe genus, the anthranoid-containing outer leaf layers should be carefully removed in order to keep contamination with anthranoids, which are suspected carcinogens, as low as possible. ### The full version of this BfR opinion is available in German on: Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are

Joint Conference of the Society of Ethnobiology & Society for Economic Botany

FOOD SECURITY, SOVEREIGNTY, & TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE JUNE 3–­7, 2018 Memorial Union on the UW-Madison campus Madison, Wisconsin (USA) We welcome you to join us for the 2018 Joint Conference of the Society of Ethnobiology and Society of Economic Botany. The conference will take place from June 3 – 7, 2018, in Madison, Wisconsin, with most conference events held in Memorial Union at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The theme of 2018’s conference is Food Security, Sovereignty, & Traditional Knowledge. Our joint conference provides a wonderful opportunity to meet colleagues in your field, connect with potential research partners, and develop greater cross-cultural, cross-discipline knowledge and awareness. Conference presenters and attendees come from a variety of fields and backgrounds, including academic faculty and students, Native/Indigenous community members, government personnel, museum staff, and individuals from private consulting and nonprofit agencies. This year’s conference will include multiple days of oral presentations, breakout sessions, active/applied demonstrations, and cultural field trips. The conference will culminate in a joint banquet on Wednesday evening, and will include awards and talks from this year’s Distinguished Ethnobiologist and Distinguished Economic Botanist. We look forward to seeing you in Madison this June! Joint Conference of the Society of Ethnobiology & Society for Economic Botany JUNE 3-­7, 2018

Sunday, 26 November 2017


23/11/2017 ANNE STOBART LEAVE A COMMENT by Anne Stobart Starting from a science background ‘That is bad history!’ scowled my history lecturer back a decade or so. Yikes, what could I have done wrong? I felt struck down, so ashamed to have committed some major error, even deserving of being smitten with boils [Figure 1]. Satan Smiting Job with Sore Boils c.1826 William Blake, Image released under Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported), As a postgraduate, I had discovered women’s history, and become interested in researching seventeenth-century recipes. Deciphering these manuscripts required some skill, and so I had enrolled on a palaeography summer school where our kindly university lecturer introduced us to the transcription of poor law records. But what exactly was my error? From a science background, I knew only how to put together a scientific report with hypothesis, methodology, results and conclusions. I had no training in historical methods, so I applied the scientific method, daring to voice a hypothesis about the poor in the seventeenth century. The details escape me now, but likely my suggestion was a fanciful theory not borne out by the evidence, and the lecturer was trying to warn me about jumping to conclusions. It was a painful lesson about which I have thought many times since, and it certainly motivated me to find out about ‘good’ history. But, as I then began to immerse myself in early modern domestic medicine, I soon learned that ‘good’ history was something of a mirage. Welcome from history colleagues Rolling forward some years to growing interest in historical recipes and the Recipes Project, and what a welcome difference I found. I was much encouraged by history colleagues who gave freely of their knowledge and experience. In the early days, this led to setting up the Medicinal Receipts Research Group. I found other scholars developing much expertise in interpreting archival material with limited provenance and anonymous contributions by many hands. Often, the gaps themselves in the archives were meaningful, especially considering the invisible roles and activities of women. My doctoral research was assisted by groundbreaking studies of women’s history which questioned many historical concepts. I did go on to carry out research into historical recipes and domestic medicine (now published by Bloomsbury Academic as Household Medicine in Seventeenth-Century England). One of my earliest Recipes Project posts based on my research was about an unusual ‘not-recipe’, a vehicle enabling one woman to express her frustration in seventeenth-century medical matters, albeit in a limited way. It has been inspiring since to see Recipes Project contributions discussing ‘What is a recipe’ in a wide-ranging foray with much interdisciplinary collaboration. Difficult conversations and living history But, as a practising medical herbalist, my research also led me into difficult conversations with some herbal colleagues who claimed a romantic past of witches, midwives and healers. At times, I found myself, in turn, warning about ‘bad’ history, arguing for more objectivity about the historical evidence available, and questioning assumptions that all early modern women were expert healers [Figure 2]. Did all women make household remedies in the seventeenth century? Front cover of Household Medicine in Seventeenth-Century England (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016)] Fortunately, I found other herbalists keen to encourage more scholarly research in the history of herbal medicine and this led to setting up the Herbal History Research Network. At the opposite end of the scale, I found that historical colleagues needed ways to objectively evaluate medicinal plants, especially since many lacked medical or botanical backgrounds. This led me to develop the series entitled ‘The Working of Herbs’ providing a protocol for locating, and distinguishing, past and present understandings about medicinal plants. I have really valued the existence of the Recipes Project, as a sort of ‘room in the ether’ for networking with colleagues, a supportive space to explore such developments and techniques. I remain interested in the tensions between science and history, curious about issues of methodology in historical research, fascinated especially by ‘historiography’, an expansive term which seems to encompass everything about ‘writing’ history, yet draws back under the critical gaze of some historians at the ‘doing’ of history. Figure 3. Making a traditional recipe today (author’s photo) Particularly welcome in the Recipes Project has been the pioneering and positive approach towards the reconstruction of recipes [Figure 3]. As in the theatrical context (see Johnson, 2015), the recreation of living history, though not without drawbacks, brings greater appreciation of both emotive and technical aspects of culture, adding considerable value in interpretation of archives. A great forum for knotty issues For me, the study of historical recipes brings together so many social, cultural, economic and material aspects, that it is not surprising that historiography can be a challenge to articulate, let alone develop. I found that criticising other people’s historical approaches was easier than defining my own perspective. In my research I drew on a wide range of archival sources relating to an individual household, and I was glad to find others describing such a ‘micro-history’ style of working, recognising ‘ragged accounts’ in medical history research (Burnham, 2005, p.141). In further recognition of the importance of context, Wendy Wall (2015) writes of ‘knotty’ (p.91) issues raised by recipes, well illustrating the way in which these need to be carefully teased out. Trying to pin down accurate characterization of historical methods and frameworks is not a small task, but the Recipes Project can provide a great forum for such an endeavour. Long may the Recipes Project, and its tireless editors, continue to offer a rich feast of knotty historical recipe research. Burnham, John C. What Is Medical History? Cambridge: Polity, 2005. Johnson, Katherine M. ‘Rethinking (Re)Doing: Historical Re-Enactment and/as Historiography’. Rethinking History 19, no. 2 (2015): 193–206. Stobart, Anne. Household Medicine in Seventeenth-Century England. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. Wall, Wendy. Recipes for Thought: Knowledge and Taste in the Early Modern English Kitchen. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015.