Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Students' Chemical Ecology Journal Finds Science Behind Indian Folk Medicine

Date:
January 29, 1999
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
Field studies conducted in the Amazon rain forest by Cornell University undergraduate students of chemical ecology and published in the first issue of the first journal of its kind are beginning to answer some long-standing questions: Will a cup of lichen tea four times a day cure urinary tract infection or even gonorrhea? Can a bird's choice of nest-building materials boost its immune system? Why do some Indians prefer the honey of stingless bees over honey from killer bees?

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Field studies conducted in the Amazon rain forest by Cornell University undergraduate students of chemical ecology and published in the first issue of the first journal of its kind are beginning to answer some long-standing questions: Will a cup of lichen tea four times a day cure urinary tract infection or even gonorrhea? Can a bird's choice of nest-building materials boost its immune system? Why do some Indians prefer the honey of stingless bees over honey from killer bees?

Chemistry -- not bee temperament -- explains the antibiotic value of honey from the mellow insects, student scientists report in Vol. 1, No. 1 of Emanations from the Rainforest. Likewise, there is a chemical explanation for birds' disease resistance and for the curative power of a lichen that Piaroa Indians call odoche jupacua, or "iguana toe."

The indigenous people and other inhabitants of the Amazon rain forest knew what worked for them but not why -- until Cornell undergraduate students began their scientific expeditions in 1996. Every year since then the students have returned, employing ethnobotany techniques to query their Indian informants about the plants that they and the rain forest animals use. With the prescribed plant materials in hand, the students go to work in Cornell's field laboratory, performing chemical extractions and bioassays, hoping to learn why some plants are so effective against bacteria, fungi and other pathogenic organisms.

And now they have a way to let the rest of the world know about their findings, the first -- and so far, only -- scientific journal about ethnobotany and chemical ecology to be written and edited by college students. Financial support for the journal is provided by Cornell alumni.

"The ongoing studies may lead to the discovery of important new drugs for a variety of epidemics," says Gustavo Azenha, a Cornell senior and editor-in-chief of the new journal's first issue. "More importantly, the research efforts have implications for biodiversity conservation and indigenous rights in the region."

Cornell junior and assistant editor Nicole Salgado adds: "Sharing our knowledge is an essential way to ensure that these ancient lands are here to stay -- or they shall disappear unrecognized, like myths of old."

Related World Wide Web sites: The following sites provide additional information on this news release. Some might not be part of the Cornell University community, and Cornell has no control over their content or availability.

MIRT-NIH at Cornell: http://bhort.bh.cornell.edu/nih-mirt/nih-mirt.htm

Related story: http://www.news.cornell.edu/Chronicles/1.29.98/rainforest.html

Photo gallery: http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Feb98/RFphotos.html

L.H. Bailey Hortorium: http://www.bio.cornell.edu/hortorium/sofhortorium.html

Eloy Rodriguez: http://www.bio.cornell.edu/hortorium/rodriguez/rodriguezworks.html


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Students' Chemical Ecology Journal Finds Science Behind Indian Folk Medicine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 January 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990129073825.htm>.
Cornell University. (1999, January 29). Students' Chemical Ecology Journal Finds Science Behind Indian Folk Medicine. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990129073825.htm
Cornell University. "Students' Chemical Ecology Journal Finds Science Behind Indian Folk Medicine." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990129073825.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins