Sacred Seeds Knowledge Base

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The costs of planting a botanical garden
Alseis yucatanensis: a natural product from Belize that exhibits multiple mechanisms of vasorelaxation

Authors: Donald F. Slish, Rosita Arvigo, Michael J. Balick

Source: Journal of Ethnopharmacology 92 (2004) 297–302

An aqueous extract of the bark of Alseis yucatanensis was studied to determine its mechanism of action in the relaxation of endotheliumdenuded rat aortic tissues. The extract relaxed both norepinephrine (NE) and KCl-contracted vessels, with ED50’s of 0.12 and 1.73 mg/mL, respectively. In NE-contracted vessels, two phases of relaxation were evident which were separated in both time and dose range. At high concentrations, a rapid relaxation was seen that was due to the blocking of internal (ED50 = 0.49 mg/mL) and external (ED50 = 2.34 mg/mL) calcium channels. A second, slowly developing (i.e., long-term) relaxation to baseline was seen at lower concentrations. The time to complete relaxation was dose-dependent. This long-term response was not seen in KCl-contracted vessels, was prolonged by TEA, and could be reversed by the addition of KCl to the bath. These data suggest that the long-term relaxation is due to the opening of potassium channels.

Keywords: Rat aorta; Relaxation; Calcium release channel; Receptor-operated channels; Potassium channels


An Access and Benefit-Sharing Commons

Author: Paul Oldham - ESRC Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen) Lancaster University, UK

Source: Initiative for the Prevention of Biopiracy, Research Documents, Year IV, No. 11.

Description: The Role of Commons/Open Source Licenses in the International Regime on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing

An Ethnobotanical Research Training Workshop in Madagascar

Authors:  Will McClatchey and Lisa X Gollin

Source: Ethnobotany Research & Applications 3:309-327 (2005)


A consortium of conservation groups organized by the Missouri Botanical Garden in 2005 responded to a call for development of conservation areas in Madgascar that would include human communities within them by arranging for a training workshop on ethnobotanical research methods. The authors developed and implemented the workshop with sixteen participating Malagasy researchers. The content of the workshop and analyses of classroom and field components is provided. The workshop participants concluded that the process was very useful for their work in conservation of biological diversity and determined to continue to develop their skills in ethnobotanical research as a group of collaborating scholars.

BGCI Report - Plants for life: Medicinal plant conservation and botanic gardens

Author:  Belinda Hawkins

Source: Botanical Gardens Conservation International report

Description: Botanic gardens around the world have been involved in the study and cultivation of medicinal plants for over 500 years. Collectively they provide an important repository for medicinal plants and the associated knowledge about these important species. Recognising this, Botanical Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) has taken various steps to promote the conservation of medicinal plants by the botanic garden community since its establishment 20 years ago.

Collecting Native Tree Seeds
Ethnobotanical Research in Homegardens of Small Farmers in the Alpine Region of Osttirol (Austria): An example for Bridges Built and Building Bridges

Authors:   Brigitte Vogl-Lukasser and Christian R. Vogl

Source:   Ethnobotany Research & Applications 2:111-137 (2004) 


The importance of farmers’ activities in the management
of natural resources in the diverse and risk prone area of
the Alps is discussed frequently in public. But, analysis of
the development of the alpine farming system with focus
on traditional ecological knowledge of the rural population
has not been realized yet. This paper presents traditional
knowledge on the management of alpine homegardens,
and shows its development in the context of the mosaic of
farmers’ activities.

Ethnomedicine: Ancient Wisdom for Contemporary Healing

Authors: Roberta Lee, M.D. and Michael J. Balick, Ph.D.

Source: Commentary section in Alternative Therapies, May/June, Vol. 7, No. 3

About the Authors: Roberta Lee is director of continuing medical education and codirector of the Integrative Medical Fellowship at The Continuum Center for Health and Healing at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. Michael J. Balick is vice president for research and training and director of the Institute of Economic Botany at The New York Botanical Garden in Bronx, NY.

Good Botanical Practices

Author: Michael J. Balick, Ph.D.

Source: Botanical Medicine: Efficacy, Quality Assurance, and Regulation, 1999.

Description: The most sgnificant contribution that a botanist can make to a discussion about furthering the incorporation of botanicals into the U.S. health care system concerns the importance of of documenting the materials  that are being studied or used in the clinical setting.

Guidelines for Using Video to Document Plant Practices

Author: Rebekah J.M. Fuller

Source:   Ethnobotany Research & Applications 5:219-231 (2007)


Video has been identified as a valuable tool in the provision of ethnobotanical data. One of the principal uses of video in ethnobotanical research is in documenting plant practices. The main benefit of using video to record this type of ethnobotanical data is the ability to record the practice in its entirety. Another benefit is the ability for the footage to be revisited at a later date, allowing for further interpretation of the plant practice. Along with the benefits, there are also ethical and practical considerations when applying video as a documenting tool. This paper outlines some of these considerations while providing guidelines on the pre-production, production and post-production stages of video creation with a focus on documenting plant practices. Taking into consideration these benefits and the practical implications of applying video it is suggested that video be considered a valuable tool in documenting ethnobotanical research.

Natural Reserve: La Pedregoza
Sacred seed Registration Form.
Tending the Global Garden

Author: Elizabeth Pennisi

Source: Science Vol. 329, 10 September 2010

Description: By sorting out plant names and growing threatened species, botanic gardens try to do their part for plant conservation.

The Challenges of Creating a Botanical Garden
The role of botanical gardens in climate change research

Authors: Richard B. Primack and Abraham J. Miller-Rushing

Source: New Phytologist (2009) 182: 303-313

Description: Botanical gardens have a unique set of resources that allows them to host important climate change research projects not easily undertaken elsewhere. These resources include controlled growing conditions, living collections with broad taxonomic representation, meticulous record-keeping, networks spanning wide geographic areas, and knowledgeable staff.

Traditional Knowledge, Biological Resources and Drug Development: Partnerships to Conserve, Develop and Respect Biocultural Diversity.

Authors: Steven R. King, Julie Anne Chinnock, Michael J. Balick, Silviano Camberos Sanchez, Katy Moran, Charles Limbach

Source: Intellectual Property and Biological Resources. Marshall Cavendish International, Singapore, 2004.

Tree Profile: Congrio
Tree Profile: Sassafras