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the Self as lab rat

Wed Jul 8 15:40:00 EST 1992

The Jewel Weed folk remedy for Poison Ivy rash has been rumored for years
and one list member suggests that it has a 50% chance of being right, as
do other fold remedies. Reasons for variations in effectiveness of raw
plant material are due to many factors, including up to 10-fold differences
in the concentration of active compounds within plants (due to growth
conditions, and/or plant varieties within a species), and differences
in susceptibility of the human subject to both the sickness and the
presumptive cure.

Having said that, these points are elaborated in the 6-page Introduction of
a 1985 book which might interest list readers:
  Duke, James A. 1985. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. CRC Press. 677 pp.

Finally, I might suggest taking after the 19th century French physicians, and
trying out the Impatiens experiment on mySELF. To do this, I'd rub
(GENTLY) some nice shiny Poison Ivy leaf on the inside of my forearm, the
then treat 1/2 of the strip with Impatiens juice and watch what devlops 
over the next 48 hrs. If Impatiens makes a difference, I might be inspired
(admittedly this is pushing it...) to repeat the experiment on the other
forearm, but this time apply Impatiens juice at various time intervals after
the Poison Ivy application. Of course, after this suffering, I'd expect
a small manuscript describing the results to be accepted by an herbalist
                        George Ellmore
                        Biology, Tufts University, Medford MA

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