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Symposium on Economic Growth, Cultural Appreciation and Sustainability Through Medicinal Plants Planned in Laurel

The Appalachian Center for Ethnobotanical Studies will present a one-day symposium titled “Cultivating Economic Growth, Cultural Appreciation and Sustainability in Appalachia Through Medicinal Plant Research and Outreach.” The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 26, at the Tai Sophia Institute in Laurel, Md.

The symposium will consist of three panels: Cultural Sustainability of Appalachian Medicinals, Economic Development in Rural Appalachia and Molecular Plant Research of Black Cohosh. The Black Cohosh panel will be presented by the Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology at the University System of Maryland Biotechnology Institute. There will also be updates on ginseng research from West Virginia University. In addition, the symposium will include medicinal plant walks hosted by the Tai Sophia Institute and Dr. James Duke.

As an economic botanist with a Ph.D. in botany from the University of North Carolina, Duke had a 32-year career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Today, in his Green Pharmacy Garden, he continues to compile data on medicinal plants and to update several of his 30 published books. Duke leads ethnobotanical trips with the Tai Sophia Institute to ecologically rich areas of the world.

The symposium’s featured speaker, Phyllis D. Light, has studied and worked with herbs, foods and other healing techniques for over 30 years. Her reputation and knowledgeable expertise have allowed her to travel far afield of her Southern Appalachian home, lecturing and teaching about herbs, integrative and complementary health care and traditional folk-healing techniques. As a practitioner and Appalachian herbalist, Light has experience in both clinical and private settings, including working in an integrative medical clinic.

Other speakers include Dr. Jeanine Davis of the Mountain Horticulture Crops Research Center in Asheville, N.C.; Dr. Kevin Spelman, a research scientist and core faculty member at the Tai Sophia Institute; Dr. Martin J. Spiering of the Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology, UMBI; and Dr. Amjad Hassan, the author of “Folk Medicine of Appalachia.”

The meeting is free and open to the public but advanced registration is required. Electronic registration can be found at, or contact ACES Outreach Coordinator Mimi Hernandez at or call 301-687-3136.

ACES is a partnership of Frostburg State University, West Virginia University and UMBI. ACES’ mission is to study native plants with medicinal or other useful properties, to promote conservation of those plants and Appalachian ecosystems as a whole, to preserve Appalachian culture as it relates to wild plant harvesting and traditional use and to work with local businesses to bring economic benefits to the region from managed development of botanical resources. -end-

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589