Plants, Medicine and the Economic Future of South Carolina
A Working Conference
Town and Country Inn, Charleston SC
September 21-22, 2000

Background:  South Carolina boasts a number of researchers currently working on some aspect of the medicinal use of plants.  Projects are underway to isolate the active ingredients of traditional herbal medicines, to protect wild stocks by laboratory propagation or other means, and  to isolate estrogenic compounds in several plants, to name just a few.  At the same time, Clemson’s agricultural researchers are exploring medicinal plants which might someday take the place of tobacco as a high-income crop.  Ethnobotanists are examining the cultural aspects of the plant-medicine connection. Finally, South Carolina is home to one of the world’s major gingko biloba plantations, the only tea plantation in North America, and numerous plants used in the herbal medicine trade. 

A small group of researchers and faculty from the state’s three research universities came together under the umbrella of the Sustainable Universities Initiative to discuss areas of common interest and potential collaboration within the broad outline of plants and medicine.  This conference was an opportunity to continue and expand the discussion.


  • To foster the development of a group of South Carolina researchers interested in some aspect of the connection between plants and medicine.  Current interests represented include pharmacy, plant physiology, agronomy, horticulture, ethnobotany, and medicine. 
  • To promote collaborative efforts leading to new funding opportunities.
  • To facilitate dissemination of scientific knowledge and information across traditional disciplinary lines.
Organization:  The conference was designed to highlight research activity in South Carolina, and to explore larger issues which have the potential to affect that research. Conference sessions were organized around the following themes:
  • Regulation, Legal Issues, Markets
  • Identification, Production, Agribusiness
  • Medical, Pharmaceutical and Consumer Issues

  • Ethnobotany and Environment
If you have questions, please email or call at 803-777-7760.

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Prepared by Kim Buchanan.
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