Oct 31, 2022
In today's world of synthetic pharmaceuticals, scientists and laypeople alike have lost a connection to the natural world. But in ignoring the potential of medicinal plants, we lose out on the opportunity to discover potentially life-saving medicines.
In this episode, ethnobotanist Dr. Cassandra Quave discusses her groundbreaking work at Emory which backs up the argument in her new book, THE PLANT HUNTER: that the key to preventing another global health crisis could very likely be in plants and not synthetic compounds.
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In THE PLANT HUNTER, Dr. Quave also shares her incredible life story which brought her to this groundbreaking field. As a person born with multiple congenital defects of her skeletal system, Quave had to have her right leg amputated at 3 years old. She spent so much time in the hospital as a child that she ended up falling in love with medicine and grew up volunteering in the ER, when other kids her age were at football games or school dances.
Since then her research has brought her to the forests of the remote Amazon, the murky swamps of southern Florida, isolated mountaintops in Albania and Kosovo, and volcanic isles of the Mediterranean, often with children in tow. THE PLANT HUNTER weaves together Quave’s personal experiences with medicine, infection, disability, scientific discovery and the experience of being a woman and mother of three in a male-dominated field with a fascinating description of how plantsand microbes interact, how antibiotic resistance evolves, and how Quave is working to figure out how we may be able to overcome it by taking the focus away from synthetic compounds.