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September 2022

Basic Life Sci. 1992 ; 59(): 767-82.

Plants of the Olympic Coastal Forests: ancient knowledge of materials and medicines and future heritage.

Forlines DR, Tavenner T, Malan JC, Karchesy JJ.

The indigenous people of the west coast of Washington State's Olympic Peninsula have used a wide variety of forest plants for centuries to make materials and medicines. The late David Forlines shared at least eight generations of the knowledge of uses of these plants for materials and medicines with us in hopes that this information might be used 'to help science catch up with the old people.' Dyes, paints and adhesives were some of the materials made. The medicines were often administered as teas, but in some cases, fresh plant material was required. Some parallels were found to European and Chinese uses of similar species. Plants from the family Rosaceae had the greatest number of medicinal uses, but several other plant families known to contain polyphenols were also encountered. The role of polyphenols in the use of these plants is difficult to estimate because in many cases the plants have not been studied chemically. A preliminary screening indicated that many of the plants were rich in procyanidins and associated compounds.

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