Hats Off to CAHSL

Submitted by Cara Marcus

An email sent through the MAHSLIN listserv caught my eye – our neighbor CAHSL sent MAHSLIN members a friendly invitation to their holiday luncheon. Dr. Dayne Laskey from the University of St. Joseph School of Pharmacy was the speaker, and the topic sounded fascinating: the history of plants and medicine.  Not only is history one of my favorite subjects, I recently began teaching adult education herbal cookery.  In addition, my newly graduated daughter just studied herbal medicine, and the topic would be of interest to her as well.  So off we went for an afternoon in Connecticut!

The presentation was superb.  No standard PowerPoint here; Dr. Laskey whirled images on the screen of plants and medicines, many from his hospital’s own medicinal garden, while surprising the group with a live aloe plant, and an astounding demonstration of how black light makes quinine (from tree bark) glow in regular bottles of tonic.  Quinine-enhanced tonic was given to early sailors to help them stay healthy on-board.  One of the most surprising things we learned was that about 79% of herbal supplements sold today do not actually contain the herb listed on the label (Dr. Laskey also talked about regulatory efforts attempting to control this issue).  Of course, with an audience of librarians, he discussed the evidence base for herbal medicine, and left the group with much food for thought for their own reference work in alternative medicine.

Besides a great lecture, the meeting was fun!  The CAHSL group was very congenial, the setting was lovely for the holidays, and the lunch included make-your-own Caesar salad and mac-and-cheese bars with lots of fixings. Another highlight of the afternoon was a Yankee Book Swap.  Everyone brought a wrapped, new book and went home with a new great book to read.  So – many thanks to CAHSL and happy holidays to all!

 

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