Herbal Medicines

Laura K. Thompson Dr, Furman University


This laboratory is one in a series that I use in Biology 401: Applied Plant Science. This course is designed for students who have had at least one introductory Biology course, either for a major or a non-major. The goal in the course is to give the student an appreciation for the importance of plants to human society. Each laboratory session is designed to give the student an appreciation for how plants contribute to society and an experience in original processing of plants for their use. A number of lectures in the course deal with the use of plants in medicine. After an attempt to have students extract and study plant medicinal components, I realized that the non-major students were at a disadvantage when it came to laboratory technique. I therefore developed this laboratory that examines the use of essential oils in aromatherapy. The students make pillow sprays and bath salts (not the illegal drug kind!). Students usually start the laboratory session being very skeptical, but end up having a great time and create some excellent fragrance combinations.