Dear Plant Lovers
The 4th volume of Spiritual Botany is a special one. It features three articles contributed by students in the course on medicinal plants that I teach in the Winter semester at the University of Guelph. Medicinal plants are used around the world for healing conditions of the body and mind. Despite their role in primary or secondary health care worldwide, concerns towards medicinal plant safety, efficacy, and public acceptance remain high. The course explores interdisciplinary aspects of medicinal plants including their propagation, chemistry, and biotechnology, as well as cultural and social aspects in addition to the scientific basis underlaying traditional practices. One of the objectives of this course is to inspire the students to analyze, integrate, and organize scientific literature on the role and importance of medicinal plants in improving human health, welfare and community development using case studies from different cultures in view of current scientific developments. I hope you will enjoy these stories which provide a glimpse into the mysterious life of medicinal plants and their ways of communication. We hope to showcase other student projects in the next series of volumes.