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Unlocking Nature's Pharmacy: From local lore to laboratory

Armed with records detailing how to make a love potion from the roots of tormentil and tales of the broadleaf plantain given healing properties by St. Patrick himself, what can a group of Trinity researchers at the NatPro Centre learn about the therapeutic benefits of plants and herbs from the written records of school children growing up in 1930’s Ireland?

When: Thursday, 23 September; 19:30 - 20:30 IST

The general public are aware of the threat to the world’s rainforests, the reduction of biodiversity and the potential disappearance of undiscovered medicines and natural molecules. This same threat to biodiversity applies in Ireland, particularly to our boglands and upland hill communities, which constitute an enormous natural national resource and heritage.

These ancient, rich and fertile landscapes are sole custodians of a varied and unique biodiversity that has accumulated over many millions of years, as species evolved in these distinct environments.  Compellingly, a number of these plants have historic documented use in Irish Traditional Medicine for a variety of preventative and therapeutic indications.

Scientists from the NatPro Centre for Natural Products Research, based in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, at Trinity College are working extensively on identifying the potential therapeutic uses of native bog plants across Ireland. Further, they are collaborating on a European Innovation Partnership (EIP) initiative with Teagasc and a group of hill farmers in the Comeragh mountain region of Co. Waterford. There is anecdotal and documented evidence that several plants native to the region have various preventative and therapeutic uses in traditional medicines.

Recent Irish research highlighted that bog plants might be a source of undiscovered medicines and natural molecules.   The opportunity presents itself in the project, to apply modern scientific approaches to ancient traditions and transform the outcomes into future scientific practice by exploring the Comeragh Mountain plants' fertile uncharted territory.

Join Peter O’Connell and Isa Woulfe for a talk about their research to celebrate European Researchers Night 2021.