Course description

Plants have always played a key role in the history of life on Earth and have served as medicinal agents in all societies since prehistoric times. Medical Ethnobotany is the study of medicinal plants used by a group of people. Medicinal plants are either critical constituents of many modem drugs or provide templates for synthetic analogous molecules. In this course we will introduce and be acquainted with past and current plant-based natural remedies used across the globe, exploring their efficacy and mode of actions. We will analyze and compare how plants are employed in the different continents to heal (or alleviate) a plethora of pathological conditions, and explore how they affect our bodies (which organic system is affected, i.e., gastro-intestinal, central nervous or respiratory system). The course is designed for students with an interest in the natural world and in traditional medicine.

Outcome 1: Describe the role of plants in human health and in social contexts in the past and the present.

Outcome 2: Identify and define the most commonly used medicinal plants across the continents and their bioactive compounds.

Outcome 3: Discuss the processes involved in the isolation of active bio compounds from plants.

Outcome 4: Compare how medicinal plants are used in various cultures, which organ(s) they affect in the human body, how efficacy is measured, and explain in general terms their modes of action.

Outcome 5: Integrate concepts from ethnobotany, biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and conservation.


Winter 2021: Online course

Section ID:PLBIO 2100 001-LEC
Class dates:January 4-23, 2021
Exam date:Saturday January 23, 11:59 PM (see Final exams)
Time / room:
Mode of instruction:Asynchronous distance learning
Max. enroll:15
  This is an online course. Please review the online course FAQs.
To enroll:To enroll, complete and submit a course enrollment form and your payment to the Cornell SCE office. For more information, see enrollment and registration. Please note that late registration fees may apply.

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