Medicinal Plant Program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Spring 2014 Courses

FFYS 197/PSIS 6 - An Exploration of Medicinal Plants (1 credit)- SPIRE #TBD
Day/Location TBD
Although ancient texts and ceremonies indicate plants were used as medicine from the dawn of history, antibiotics and vaccinations developed in first half of the 20th century led conventional medicine to shun plant material for chemically synthesized replacements. Concerns about modern medicine and changes in life style and research during the past 20 years, however, have led to increased interest in using plants and plant extracts as medicine. In this course, we will focus on a series of plants used in modern medicines and/or diets to treat disease and improve health. Both historical and modern applications of the plants as medicines will be explored through class presentations and discussions, looking to the future of medicines from plants.(FRESHMEN ONLY) Lyle Craker

STOCKSCH 280- Herbs, Spices, and Medicinal Plants (4 credits) (a GenEd Biology course) - SPIRE #54334
Tues/Thurs 9:30am-10:20am in Morrill 2, Rm 222 and Lab on Tues or Thurs (choose one) from 10:30am-12:00pm.

Introduction to the growth, culture, and science related to the production and use of herbs, spices, and medicinal plants. Emphasis on plants used in the home with discussions on bioactivity of plant extracts. Laboratory practice in seeding, growing, oil extraction, and utilization of these plants. Examinations, project and identification of selected herbs. Lecture, lab. Lyle Craker

A Thursday evening section of STOCKSCH 280 is also offered 6:30pm-9:30pm, in Bowditch Hall 209, SPIRE #59198 or 59113.
This section includes both the lecture and lab. Contact instructor for admittance.

STOCKSCH 296- Shamanism and the Modern World (2 credits) - SPIRE #TBD
Wednesdays, 6:00pm-8:00pm

This course will look at the Shamanic understanding of the human body, emotional and physical disease, the plant world and methods for healing. It will introduce students to the healing power of plants and methods for developing a spiritual relationship with plants. This course will include an introduction to shamanic ceremony and elements of shamanic energy healing. Email Kristen Avonti. Limited to 25 students.

STOCKSCH 297E- Wild Edible Plants (1 credit) -SPIRE #59528
Tuesdays, 4:30pm-6:30pm.

This course will examine more than a dozen species of local plants and trees that be harvested from the wild. The course will focus on plant identification skills, sustainable harvesting, wild crafting and how to process these plants into foods and fibers. Felix Lufkin

STOCKSCH 297D- Traditional Herbal Medicine Systems Part II (1 credit)- SPIRE #54378
Wednesdays 4:40pm-5:30pm in Stockbridge Hall 301

An examination of indigenous medical systems in the world to understand the choices of herbal medicines used by traditional healers and the similarities and differences in the approach of treatments.  Discussions on herbal medicines used in various societies in the fight against afflictions such as diabetes, obesity, and gastrointestinal disorders.  An assessment on medicinal plants that possess antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, and immune enhancing  activity.  A look at herbal medicines used around the world for improving men’s and women’s health.  Lecture.  No prerequisite (Part I of this course is not necessary for understanding Part II).  Nazim Mamedov

STOCKSCH 297ER- Ethnobotany of the Renaissance (2 credits)- SPIRE #59432
Mondays 2:30pm-4:25pm in Fernald Hall H-2

A hands-on learning experience focused on the UMass Renaissance Center's 16th century kitchen garden. Students explore historic gardens with a focus of Renaissance era plants and their cultural uses. John Gerber

STOCKSCH 297K- Clinical Herbalism: Part II (1 credit)- SPIRE #54394
Thursdays 4:00pm-6:00pm in Fernald Hall H-1

Taught by a practicing clinical herbalist, this course will cover the traditional understandings of human physiology, health, and sickness, according to Western, Native American, and Chinese health philosophies.  We will discuss how herbal medicine can be used to maintain or restore health and balance within the context of the different health philosophies.  The courses will include a survey of commonly used medicinal plants, an understanding of plant chemistry and the actions of the plants in human systems.  A major focus of the courses will be the appropriate preparation and applications of different types of medicinal plant extracts. Lecture.  No prerequisites (Parts I and II of this course can be taken independent of each other).  Chris Marano

STOCKSCH 297W- Herbal Approaches to Women's Health (2 credits)- SPIRE #54678
Tuesdays 4:00pm-6:00pm, French Hall 102

This course will include an extended discussion of the use of medicinal herbs and foods for health and well being through all stages of a woman's life, puberty to menopause. We will cover basic herbal medicine making techniques, cosmetic and health applications and physiological of the female reproductive system.
Practical experiential learning and personal health empowerment will be emphasized. Brittany Wood Nickerson

Independent Study in Medicinal Plants (1-6 credits): PLSOILIN 596D- SPIRE #54303

Students interested in the agricultural production, medicinal utilization, or social aspects of medicinal plants are encouraged to consider an independent study project.  Students may pursue their own research interests or study under the guidance of a researcher in the Medicinal Plant Program.  Lyle Craker  

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Special thanks to Chris Kilham, Zoe Helene, Chris Marano, Zoe Gardner, and Gaia Herbs for the use of the photos.

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