Abstract Detail

Poster Session

Garita, Sadie R. [1], Weston, Dr. Douglas [2], Babos, Dr. Marybeth [1].

The Development of a Validated Tool to Record the Medicinal Uses of Local Appalachian Plants.

The Appalachian region is plagued by an opiate overuse problem.  Our initial pilot study sought to explore how herbs are used for pain in the Appalachian area, to develop an efficient self-survey method to gather ethnobotanical information, and to gather information from which to compare local medicinal herb use to that of Traditional Chinese Medicine.     

An IRB-approved self-survey was distributed at an herbal conference for participants to complete in detail on their use of plants for analgesia. This initial study demonstrated that a mail-sent survey was not an effective means to gather information in part due to ambiguities associated with word and in part due to the small number (N=2) of surveys actually returned.     
The differences in word usage between Western trained medical personnel and lay persons led us to expand the scope of the study.  We plan to shift the focus to cataloguing the various plant uses so that we may apply data mining techniques to estimate probabilities that a given plant is used for a given purpose.  As we organize the reported uses into validated text clusters, we will better identify how pain etiology might impact herb selection.         
Our reporting of this small study led a cohort of researchers to begin to collaborate.  One group plans to develop Caenorhabditis elegans as a potential screening model for herb activity.  Another emerging collaboration involves initial screening for herbs with potential antibacterial activity.     
Further, organization of plant use based upon text clusters will facilitate comparisons across cultures. We plan to correlate Appalachian use with Traditional Chinese use for comparisons at the constituent level.     
Though our initial pilot failed its purpose, it has led us to redirect for multi-purpose results.  This report demonstrates how human interactions with plants can lead to improved human interactions with humans.

1 - Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine , Department of Pharmacology & Physiology, 6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway, Harrogate, TN, 37752, USA
2 - Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Department of Osteopathic Principles & Practice, 6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway, Harrogate, TN, 37752, USA

none specified

Presentation Type: Poster
Abstract ID:49
Candidate for Awards:None