Category: Features

Featured stories feature some of the best interviews and content on our site.

Five-Flavor Berry (Schisandra chinensis)

Five-Flavor Berry (Schisandra chinensis) Contributed by: Michael Wang Figure 1. Picture of a Five-Flavor berry plant (Kosalapov, 2009) Binomial Name Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill. Synonyms Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) K.Koch Schisandra chinensis var. glabrata Schisandra chinensis var. typicaNakai Schisandra chinensis var. leucocarpa Schisandra chinensis var. Rubriflora Common name(s) of the plant Five-flavor berry, Chinese Magnolia vine, Magnolia berry, Wu wei zi, Gomishi, Ngu mie gee, Omicha, Omija. Botanical Description Figure 2. Picture of the structure of Schisandra chinensis. As shown, the...

Michael Wang / January 3, 2024

Kolam (Rangoli)

Kolam (Rangoli) is a wonderful art that merges creativity, spirituality, mathematics and science together. Kolam, in its traditional context, is said to be drawn using rice powder to announce auspiciousness and that all-is-well in the household. Apart from its traditional resonance, many more layered meanings, stories, and beliefs are credited to this creative art when viewed through multiple lenses. Let’s check out a few of them here. One of the benefits of Kolam is to provide food to ants, insects,...

Mrs. Suganya Narayanan / December 15, 2022

Science in the Garden

Science in the Garden: Reaping the Rewards of Recycling and Recuse After his retirement as a professional welder, when you hear the term “experiment”, you might connect it to places like a lab or school. Have you ever thought of science in the garden? A local gardener, Mario Guardiero, has taken this concept seriously and brought together the idea of recycling and reusing. Mario has always loved gardening since his childhood when he helped in his family farming operations in...

Roocha Shukla / December 15, 2022

Monk Sugar

Siraitia grosvenorii, a member of the Cucurbitaceae (gourd) family,is an herbaceous perennial vine (Fig. 1) that grows from 2 to 5 meters by clinging tendrils.

Yan (Leanne) Li / November 1, 2021

The mythological connection between man and plants: from lores to drugs

A few plant genus/species which have a special place in collective beliefs are highlighted in this paper with reference to their medicinal values.

Anurabh Chakravarty and R. Gnanam / November 7, 2020

Cinchona, Gin, Hydroxychloroquine and COVID 19 – An Interesting journey through time

Reflections on the historical and sacred value of white pine

Dr. Jayasankar Subramanian / July 2, 2020

Social Distancing and Public Health in Ancient India

Reflections on the historical and sacred value of white pine

Alok Goel / April 30, 2020

Believing in Dryads: A new way of Understanding plants, neurotransmitters and the senses

If you do not believe in Dryads (figure 1) and Elves (figure 2) as spirits that live in plants, you may want to reconsider. Many people believe that plants do not feel as animals do but new research is proving this wrong.

Dr. Victoria Roshchina / October 8, 2019

Melatonin in Plants and Human Diet

Despite melatonin's widespread occurrence in plants as well as the foods we consume daily, its role in the human diet is only beginning to be understood.

Lauren Erland / September 24, 2018

Plants Are All Chemists

“Plants are all chemists, tirelessly assembling the molecules of the world” - Gary Snyder

Christina Turi / September 24, 2018

Bodhi Beads in China

Bodhi beads were used by Buddhists as a prayer tool for counting the number of prayers chanted while reciting mantras. Nowadays, buyers in China use Bodhi beads as ornaments, collectibles or high-grade gifts. As a result of the market hype, the price of Bodhi beads has risen quite quickly, especially for beads that have been traditionally collected by people for many years.

Li Fei-fei / July 14, 2017

We Have Lots of Work to Do!

The herbal industry is growing at a rate much faster than the slow growing forest botanicals. Susan Leopold, executive director for the United Plant Savers, shares her thoughts on medicinal plant conservation.

Susan Leopold / July 14, 2017

Tulsi: A Strong Candidate for Controlled Environment Cultivation?

Plant tissue culture is a technique used to grow plants under sterile and controlled environmental conditions. Using this technology, sustainable mass production of high quality medicinal plants can be achieved, which in turn can reduce pressures created by wild harvesting.

Mukund Shukla / July 14, 2017

The Effects of Experiencing Green Spaces on Health and Well-being: Insights Into a New Research Domain

There is increased interest in multidisciplinary studies that relate human health and well-being with environmental factors. One of the new frontiers relates to the effects that experiencing green spaces have on mental and physical health. The shinrin-yoku research model is presented here as an example of this captivating enterprise.

Verena Kulak / November 3, 2016

Spiritual Uses of the Buttercup Family in North America

Classic ethnobotany describes a strong connection between plants used to treat neurological diseases and those associated with ceremonial and/or ritualistic practices. This article examines current phytochemical and pharmacological understanding for several spiritual species belonging to the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) which have previously been employed as medicines during ceremony

Christina E. Turi / November 3, 2016

Where’s Your Head at? Plant Intelligence and Medicinal Plants as a New Window Into This Complex Case

Can plants think? It is a controversial question that inspires both skepticism and interest. This article will highlight instances in which plants (though not in the same manner as animals), demonstrate kinship and altruism, the presence of reasoning or control centers, and the capacity to communicate with the surrounding environment.

Lauren A E Erland and Praveen K Saxena / November 3, 2016