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Herbal remedy to Pharmaceutical - the story of Botany and Medicine

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact John O'Toole.

The changing relationship between plants and medicine will be explored in this illustrated talk. For the ancients, all medicines were derived from plants. Modern science has dramatically changed our understanding over the past four hundred years, and today we tend to regard herbal remedies very differently from pharmaceuticals. Some of the key figures in the story of plant derived medicines will be introduced, and how their work influenced the course of history. The talk will end with an update about recent plant-based medicines that have been licensed for clinical use, and reveal how plants are providing us with many modern medicines, for diabetes, cancer, heart conditions and painkillers. We will even learn how science is beginning to understand how some traditional herbal remedies, such as Ginkgo and Echinacea, have an effect.

Having completed her first degree in Chemistry, Alison Foster worked first as a medicinal chemist, then undertook her PhD and then returned to the pharmaceutical industry as a process chemist. She then decided to move to horticulture, and studied for the RHS general certificate. She moved to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses as a trainee and since then has not looked back. She moved to the University of Oxford Botanic garden in 2008. In late 2009 she started planning the new modern medicinal plant collection, now fully established in the Walled Garden. In March 2011 she took up her current role as Senior Curator and is responsible for the Public Education Programme and for managing the portfolio of research collaborations at the Garden.

Free admission. Open to the public. Suitable for GCSE students. No tickets, so arrive early to get a good seat.

Organised by SCI Cambridge & Great Eastern Region, RSC Mid-Anglia Section & CU ChemSoc.

This talk is part of the SCI Cambridge Science Talks series.

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