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Reopens the UPR-MC School of Pharmacy's Garden of Medicinal Plants

The School of Pharmacy from the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus reopened The Garden of Medicinal Plants: Dr. Esteban Núñez Meléndez, at the UPR's Botanical Garden on May 28, 2009. With a nearly half-million dollar investment, the garden is intended to become a new area of scientific research, studying natural origin-medications to promote the discovery of new pharmaceuticals.


The Garden of Medicinal Plants, Dr. Esteban Núñez Meléndez is part of the UPR's School of Pharmacy Museum, Luis Torres Díaz (Photo Courtesy of the UPR-Medical Sciences Campus Website)

The garden consists of eleven (11) planters with herbs, spices and condiments, as well as fruit trees and edible flowering plants for medicinal purposes. Plants like tibey colorado (Lobelia Portoricensis), rue (Ruta), mint (Mentha), lemongrass (Cymbopogon), eucalyptus, rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), maguey (Agave americana) and yerbabuena (Clinopodium douglasii) are part of the garden.

Three of the planters were designated for medicinal plants on currently investigations by several UPR's researchers. Some of these investigations include the study of the tranquilizing effects of Valerian (Valeriana officinalis), and the antibacterial properties of pomegranate (Punica granatum).

at the Garden include (from top to bottom, left to right) yerbabuena, maguey, eucalyptus, tibey colorado, lemongrass, mint, rue, and rosemary among others
at the Garden include (from top to bottom, left to right) yerbabuena, maguey, eucalyptus, tibey colorado, lemongrass, mint, rue, and rosemary among others

The Garden of Medicinal Plants has been supporting for years, the scientific research of students and faculty of the UPR's School of Pharmacy. In 1965-66, Dr. Esteban Núñez Meléndez, the first director of the Garden, isolated an alkaloid from the Lobelia Portoricencis Urban (commonly known as Tibey Colorado), this turned out to be a respiratory stimulant, which he called "Portoricina" and obtained the patent rights for the federal government.





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