The DJ and the Miracle Cure: The Perils Of Postcolonial Medicine in Madagascar

Plant specimens taken from Madagascar by France (Museģe colonial de Marseille, 2017), courtesy of Chanelle Adams

By Chanelle Adams Originally published by The Drift (Issue 2) October 21, 2020 On March 16, Madagascar’s state-owned TV station aired an 18-minute documentary. Narrated by two airline pilots, it re-enacts a November 2019 visit to the island nation by an anonymous Brazilian woman purported to be a prophet. “Joana,” as she is dubbed in …

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Five Finger Medicine

five finger medicine

Excerpt from MAGGHIE (Book Two) Stories & Art by B. Salvatore With winter came more lessons. Time spent in the kitchen with Maye and the herbs and medicines. Magghie watched and listened, and the plants lent their voices. They sunk in, because Maye had a way of making remembering easy. “Today Magghie dear, we will …

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What Might We Find In Those Old Books?

Photo 1: The Thomsonian Materia Medica

By Bill Chioffi , United Plant Savers Board Secretary Professor Emeritus Emil John Staba College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota Pharmacognosy, Medicinal Chemistry, and Philanthropy E. John Staba, Ph.D. has generously donated 5,849 books to United Plant Savers and the newly formed Duke Ethnobotanical Archives & Teaching Gardens (www. The books were collected by …

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Seed Carrier WamíDe-íN


Excerpt from BIG HORSE WOMAN (Book One) Stories & Art by B. Salvatore Her mother held her, touched her lips with sacred water, nursed her, welcomed her. Her grandmother named her. In the early days, every woman carried seed for their families, for their village, for the tribe. But not every woman knew the seeds …

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Goldenseal Cultivation

Jennifer Gerrity and Blake at the Herb Pharm Goldenseal forest plots. Photo by Susan Leopold, 2021.

By Jennifer Gerrity Herb Pharm expanded a planting of goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) roots from nursery stock this fall on private land in SW Virginia. The land is owned by Blake, a multigeneration ginseng producer who embarked on goldenseal cultivation after noticing wild stands naturalized around his 60 acres of forested land. “Once I saw the …

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United Plant Savers at The IUCN

Marc Williams tending the UpS booth with Bernadette Montanari

By Marc Williams The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) met in September of 2021 in Marseille, France for the typically every four years conference that helps set the agenda for global monitoring and preservation of species on land and sea as well as the ecosystems that support these biotas. The trip started …

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Plant Stewardship

Oregon Grape

By Suzanne Tabert Back in the late 1980s and 1990s, I worked at an herb store in the Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington called Tenzing Momo. It was wildly famous for being the oldest herbal apothecary on the west coast and was, as I so affectionately called it, “a freak magnet.” I recall many …

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Women’s Herbs in Appalachia

False Unicorn (Chamaelirium luteum) by Stephen Foster

By Susan Leopold It was early spring in 2021 when visiting a friend in southern Virginia that I had a rare encounter with a small colony of just emerging false unicorn root (Chamaelirium luteum). This sacred fertility herb was thriving in the woods nestled throughout a graveyard of rusty old farm equipment. Hiding in plain …

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