In this course, you will focus on the central nervous system and how it can be affected by different types of medicinal plants. The major categories of effects on which this course is focused are stimulants, antidepressants, psychoactives, and systemic pain relief. This can include things like your morning cup of coffee or tea; the chocolate bar you have in the afternoon as a mood elevator; or stronger, more mind-altering vegetation such as psilocybin or cannabis. In addition to recreational uses, there are clinicians studying the psychological applications of many of these plants in controlled environments. Through consideration of active ingredients and potential interactions, you will be able to propose appropriate choices of medicinal plants when presented with the problem of treating an illness or achieving a wellness goal.
The following course is required to be completed before taking this course:
Key Course Takeaways
Assess the effects of plant-based stimulants on the central nervous system, then select an appropriate plant based on the desired effects
Assess the effects of plant-based antidepressants, sedatives, and anxiolytics on the central nervous system, then select an appropriate plant based on the desired effects
Assess the effects of psychoactive plants on the central nervous system, then select an appropriate plant considering its properties and risks
Assess the effects of plant-based systemic pain relievers on the central nervous system, then select an appropriate plant based on the desired effects
Senior Research Associate and Senior Lecturer, Cornell CALS
Giulia Friso obtained her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Biology and her Ph.D in Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Padua (Italy). She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Biochemistry at Imperial College, London (UK), and at the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at UCSF in San Francisco. Giulia was a research scientist at the discovery unit of the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca in Stockholm (Sweden). She joined the Plant Biology Department at Cornell University in 2001 and is currently senior research associate and senior lecturer.
“My goal as a teacher is to inspire my students in the learning process and engage them in the process of discovery; facilitate mastery of plant biology; and help them integrate concepts of biochemistry, pharmacology, physiology, ethnobotany, indigenous knowledge, and bioprospecting. I also aim to transmit my enthusiasm as a researcher and a teacher, influencing my students to commit to my course and interest them in the field of medicinal plants and drug discovery. I am deeply interested to convey a knowledge and awareness of different cultural practices, values, and beliefs, and help my students gain an understanding of their own cultural perspective.”