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Observe, Smell and Listen: A Journey Through Medicinal Plants

Despite the bustling golden week holiday, over 100 participants flocked to The 26th Seminar on Medicinal Plants held on May 4th (Sat.). This interactive event wasn't just about acquiring knowledge; it offered participants a chance to embark on a sensory exploration of the Medicinal Plant Garden.
The event commenced with a captivating talk titled “The History and Science of Spices” by Dr. Hari Prasad Devkota, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Life Sciences, Kumamoto University. He discussed the definition of spice, global varieties, their chemical structures and functions. What truly resonated was Dr. Devkota's revelation that digestive issues often arise from sanitation problems rather than spices themselves. This inspective perspective promoted participants to make more informed spice choices and avoid contaminated mixes.
Lecture by Dr. Devkota titled “The History and Science of Spices”

Several spices in tubes are provided for participants to observe and smell up close. Simply remove the cap, and you can immerse yourself in a sensory experience with these spices, some of which you may have only encountered on food packaging.

A variety of spices available for hands-on exploration

Participants are actively engaged in exploring the spices
Next up was Mr. Masato Watanabe, the technical specialist of the Medicinal Plant Garden, who introduced the star plants of May, including Mucuna sempervirens, Rotala rotundifolia, and Lonicera japonica. For more information, please visit the database of Medicinal Plant Garden: https://www.pharm.kumamoto-u.ac.jp/yakusodb/

Introduction to medicinal plants best observed in May by Mr. Watanabe

 Some featured garden blooms: Mucuna sempervirens, Rotala rotundifolia, and Lonicera japonica
With newfound knowledge in tow, participants were divided into five teams and embarked on a guided tour of the Medicinal Plant Garden, immersing themselves in the sights and smells they'd just learned from the talks.

Garden tour- The team guided by Dr. Devkota

The School of Pharmacy regularly hosts this event series four times a year, with this being the first occurrence this year. The upcoming events are planned for July 13th, October 12th and December 21st.  Serving as a bridge between the university and the local community, these events foster dialogue and engagement between researchers and residents.
Beyond its role in research and conservation, the Medicinal Plant Garden enriches the lives of locals by bringing a touch of greenery into their daily lives.
Medicinal Plant Garden: https://www.pharm.kumamoto-u.ac.jp/yakusopark/