Herbs As Specific Nutrition

Music: Alex Theory Project

Thoughts: I ran into Chris –that redhead who used to play in Gregg Hansen’s drum and percussion ensemble in Memphis. He and his wife had just moved back to Memphis with their four-year-old daughter.

Chris told me something very exciting that, at least in part, prompted me to think some more about my own next steps in the education/degree process. Chris said he was working on a PhD in biology, specifically botany, with an emphasis on ethno-pharmacology. He said UM didn’t really have that as an option, so he was putting it together himself.

What this suggested to me was the possibility that I could also [then — and even still now, today, six years later] put together some kind of tailormade program. I doubt I have the science background to get a biology degree, but botany would really help me to solidify my knowledge of plants. I wonder if I could put together a course of study that would allow me to focus on “ethno-botanical-nutrition,” a cross-cultural comparison of how different cultures have met their nutritional requirements through the use of traditional spices and (especially) herbs as “special foods.”

So I would focus less on the so-called allopathic model (herbs for therapeutic treatment) and more on the integration of (tonic) herbs into the diet. In other words, not just teas and extracts but culinary herbs as specific nutrition.

Courses of study could include:

biology+botany+ethnopharmacology= ethno-nutrition


Anthropology+ethnopharmacology+ ethnobotany=cross-cultural/traditional nutrition

Significant author:

Weston LaBarre

Additionally, I came across an article just a day or two ago that was written by an LD/RD (licensed/registered dietician) on “herbs as special foods,” with an emphasis on the Chinese and Indian/Ayurvedic approaches to food-as-medicine/medicine-as-food. So if I want to come at the subject from the (primarily) dietetic side of things, I could do that as well.


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