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'From Magic Mushrooms to Big Pharma' – a college course explores nature's medicine cabinet and different ways of healing

Heather McIlvaine-Newsad, Professor of Anthropology, Western Illinois University, The Conversation on

Published in News & Features

Over the course of the semester, students begin to recognize that there is no one right way of healing. More importantly, there is no one right way of being human. It is my hope that students leave seeing that everything is connected, integrally linked to humanity’s relationship to nature.

Scientific materials provided by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a nonprofit that provides some of the only scientific research on psychedelics in the U.S. and promotes awareness of these drugs

How to Change your Mind,” by Michael Pollan and the accompanying Netflix series

Work of ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin, including his Ted Talk “What the people of the Amazon know that you don’t

Studying how different cultures approach problems that plague all humans, like being sick and healing our ill, demonstrates to students that there are many ways the world over to solve problems. This course views different approaches not as a problem to be overcome but as a resource that can yield new ways of thinking and new opportunities – a definite advantage in the professional world. I hope students also learn to become advocates for their own health and well-being.


This article is republished from The Conversation, an independent nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. If you found it interesting, you could subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Read more:
Dwindling tropical rainforests mean lost medicines yet to be discovered in their plants

Starting with Mother Nature’s designs will speed up critical development of new antibiotics

Heather McIlvaine-Newsad does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


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