MPNS Newsletter June 2019 - Volunteers Meeting at Kew
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Meeting our volunteers

May was a particularly exciting month as our core team and volunteers came together for the first time to meet, learn lessons from one another and plan our various ongoing projects.

Who are we?
MPNS volunteers have an impressive range of skills and experience including careers in pharmaceuticals, medical communications and agricultural sustainability. One volunteer has experience in developing strategic international partnerships, another is a GP, and we also have a recent graduate from UCL with an MSc in Medicinal Natural Products and Phytochemistry and a strong interest in the regulation of herbals, hence her understanding of the value of MPNS.   Two of the volunteers also act as guides for Kew visitors, sharing their knowledge of the history and features of the gardens as well as explaining some of the science that goes on behind the scenes.  Another volunteer, who can speak Mandarin (which proves particularly helpful when capturing new records for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)), came all the way from Holland.  All of us are united in a fascination for medicinal plants and a desire for them to be used safely and effectively.
IMAGE:  Volunteers take a well earned break in the Gardens

What did we do?

We heard about each other’s MPNS projects, discussed ways to capture data more effectively, learned about current geographical  priorities and enjoyed brainstorming how we can take MPNS forward.

We toured Kew’s astonishing herbarium holding more than 7 million dried and pressed plant specimens (some 200 years old), with a fascinating explanation from Kew botanist David Goyder who has discovered and named many new plants himself.

We also visited Kew’s TCM collection with thousands of samples of materia medica (prepared parts of medicinal plants) and heard a very educational talk from medical botanist Christine Leon MBE who specialises in TCM. She shocked us with several tales of the serious health consequences that can result from poor herbal nomenclature.  
IMAGE:  Part of Kew's fabulous TCM collection

Want to get involved?

We enjoyed ourselves a great deal, learned a lot and were left feeling inspired and energised as to the importance of our work in MPNS and the
need to push further.

If you have any ideas about how you would like to see MPNS develop, or if you have questions about volunteering, please let us know  

best wishes,
the MPNS team
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