Finding Modern Medicines in the Botanical World – Cassandra Quave, Ph.D. : 986
IN THIS EPISODE OF THE HUMAN UPGRADE™… you’ll learn how botanical remedies treat infectious and inflammatory diseases. You’ll get a fascinating look at how plants and microbes interact and how antibiotic resistance evolves. And you’ll meet a leader in the field of medical botany who travels to remote locations and communities around the globe seeking out modern medicines from plants.
- Medicinal plants make up the primary form of medicine for 70–95 percent of people living in most developing countries.
- At least 4 billion people are dependent on plants for medicine.
Ethnobotanist Cassandra Quave, Ph.D., is an herbarium curator and associate professor of dermatology and human health at Emory University. (She’s also a writer, speaker and podcast creator/host.) She teaches courses on medicinal plants, food, and health and her Quave Research Group leads anti-infective drug discovery research initiatives.
Dr. Quave’s also the co-founder and CEO/CSO of PhytoTEK LLC. This drug-discovery company works to develop solutions from botanicals. In particular, they look at treatments of antibiotic-resistant infections like MRSA.
Her battle with MRSA is personal. She was born with congenital skeletal deformities and had her leg amputated at age 3. She nearly died from a staph infection that infection required more amputation. Her early life and disability experiences shaped her life’s work with medicinal plants.
She chronicles her extraordinary life, field work and scientific discovery in her book, “The Plant Hunter: A Scientist’s Quest for Nature’s Next Medicines.”
Plants are incredibly complex, and science has barely scratched the surface, Cassandra says. “Some of our best drugs for infection, cancer and pain were originally found in plants,” she says in her book. “Even though they may be produced in a factory setting now, the original chemical blueprints came from plants.”
Cassandra studied pre-med in college with a double major in biology and anthropology. She couldn’t find a connection between the two fields until she journeyed to the Amazon where she studied with a local shaman/healer who relied on plants as medicine. She realized instead of going into the practice of medicine, her true path was the discovery of new medicines from nature.
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