Penn to host Herbal Medicine Symposium

September 12, 2006

The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and the Morris Arboretum are jointly sponsoring a symposium on September 19-20, 2006 entitled Herbal Medicine: Perception, Practice and Rational Use. The symposium will bring together world-renowned experts in the field of herbal medicine. The broad range of topics to be addressed will include everything from a look at the history of herbal medicines and their potential role in future health care, to a discussion of the role that herbal medicines already play in today's pharmaceutical industry. Among other topics the symposium will address: the use of plants in clinical practice; determining the benefits or potential harm of using various herbal remedies; rational approaches for proper use; informing the public about the possible risks and benefits of using herbal medicines; perceptions health care providers and the lay public have of herbal medicine; and the role of botanical research in drug development.

The use of herbal medicines in the United States is becoming increasingly popular. Yet, because most American health care providers receive little or no formal training in herbal medicine, physicians and nurses are often unprepared to answer questions patients have about the efficacy or dangers of herbal medicines, either as supplements to more conventional treatment methods or as a stand-alone therapy to treat or prevent disease. Furthermore, patients are not always aware of the potential side effects many of these herbal remedies may have, particularly when combined with more conventional forms of medication.

"This is an excellent chance to explore the advantages and disadvantages of herbal medicine in a scientific way," said Dr. Arthur Rubenstein, MBBCh, Dean, School of Medicine, Executive Vice-President of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System, and whose remarks will open the second day of symposium activities.

A host of nationally recognized speakers are scheduled to appear including: Mr. Mark Blumenthal, Executive Director of the American Botanical Council; Dr. Steven King, Vice President of Ethnobotany and Conservation for Napo Pharmaceuticals; Dr. Robert McCaleb, President of the Herb Research Foundation; Dr. Marc Micozzi, physician-anthropologist and Penn alum; Mr. Simon Mills, Past-President, British Herbal Medicine Association; Dr. John M. Riddle, distinguished author, scholar, and professor at North Carolina State University; and Dr. Chun-Su Yuan, the Cyrus Tang Professor in the Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care at the University of Chicago.

The two-day symposium begins on September 19 at the Morris Arboretum in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. The evening will feature tours of herbal plants in the arboretum's gardens, dinner, and an address by keynote speaker Dr. John M. Riddle. The symposium continues the following day, September 20 at the University of Pennsylvania, Biomedical Research Building II/III: Lobby and Auditorium where further lectures and discussions will be led by Penn professors Peter Wilding, PhD, and Alfred Fishman, MD.
For more information and a complete brochure or to register contact Jan McFarlan: 215-247-5777, ext. 156 or 125 or email at or Rick Cushman: 215-349-5659 or email at

This release and additional materials are available at

PENN Medicine is a $2.9 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn's School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #3 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes three hospitals, all of which have received numerous national patient-care honors, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home care and hospice.

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing is the only undergraduate nursing school in the Ivy League offering programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Among its many "firsts," Penn Nursing was the first to be named a World Health Organization Collaborating Center, the first to offer a PACE program offering hands-on care to frail elders, and started the first private Center for Nursing Research. The School currently receives the most NIH funding of any private School of Nursing.

The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is located at 100 Northwestern Avenue in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. The 92-acre horticulture display features a spectacular collection of mature trees in a Victorian landscape. The Arboretum contains numerous picturesque spots such as the formal rose garden, Japanese gardens, swan pond, meadows and the elegant Fernery. The Morris Arboretum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

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