Medicinal Plant Program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Current Research

Black cohosh diversity

Research on black cohosh (Actaea racemosa L.) is designed to analyze the overall diversity of the species by comparing genetic, morphological, and phytochemical data obtained from 26 naturally occurring populations of the plant. Understanding the diversity of the species will aid in plant breeding and conservation work related to this popular medicinal plant.

Medical marijuana permit application

In association with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), MPP investigators are in the process of seeking DEA permission to establish a medical marijuana production facility on the UMass Amherst campus to produce test material for FDA-approved research. At present, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is the only U.S. producer of marijuana that can be used in medical research. Although the original application for a production license was submitted to the DEA in June 2001, to date, the DEA has not issued an official decision on granting the production license. Click here for more details.

Mint breeding for drought tolerance

The objective of this research is to provide drought tolerant strains of spearmint (Mentha spicata L.) and peppermint (Mentha x piperita L.). As the amount of arable land on earth decreases due to desertification, non-food crops will need to be adapted to growing on marginalized land. Drought tolerant selections of mint can be grown as a cash crop by farmers cultivating marginal land.

Goldenseal genetic diversity

The current research on goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) is examining the degree of genetic variation within and between wild populations of goldenseal. The objectives of the research are to develop a general understanding of genetic variation in the species and to determine the significance of sexual versus asexual reproduction in the survival of the species.


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