Medicinal & Nutraceutical Plants:
Fiber & Cellulosic Crops  General Crops & Products  Medicinal & Nutraceutical Plants Natural Rubber & Resins Oilseeds

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Division Chair: Rodolfo Juliani

                                 Rutgers University

                                 59 Dudley Rd.

                                 New Brunswick, NJ 08904

                                 Phone: 848-932-6240


Scope of the Division:

Conduct research and development activities in medicinal and nutraceutical crops to support various industries. Members of the division conduct research in several disciplines within these crops. Research is ongoing in germplasm selection, evaluation, cultivation, harvesting, processing, product development, and marketing of crops and their respective products. In addition, members also conduct research related to the agronomic, chemistry, genetics, quality, and biological activities of these crops.

Medicinal plants are defined as those plants containing phytochemicals, secondary metabolites, or primary metabolites that have a medicinal action in humans and animals. Nutraceutical plants produce healthy phytochemicals that are formulated and intake is in the form of capsules, tinctures, or tablets. Functional foods are a component of nutraceuticals and are consumed as foods, and not in dosage form.

Medicinal and nutraceutical plants offer a wide array of products utilized or can be utilized in the pharmaceutical and functional food industries.

Crops Investigated:

Members in this division have been conducting research in the following crops for their medicinal and nutraceutical attributes:

Aloe (Aloe vera): Leaves

Amaranth oil (Amaranthus spp.) for cardiovascular disease.

Borage (Borago officinalis L.): seeds (gamma linolenic acid)

Calendula (Calendula spp.) flower for wound healing (water soluble flavonoids), anti-inflammatory, may inhibit HIV, anti-bacterial, and anti-tumor. Skin and cancer treatments.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis L.): seeds (calendic acid).

Candelilla (Euphorbia antisyphilitica): natural waxes.

Camelina (Camelina sativa L.): seeds (omega-3-fatty acids).

Chia (Salvia hispanica) bread for reducing cardiovascular risk factors (proteins, antioxidants, fatty acids)

Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia, E. pallida, E. purpurea) for reducing the common cold.

Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) oil for osteoporosis.

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) for colic and constipation.

Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) gensenosides for reducing type 2 diabetes and may reduce respiratory tract infections as well as influenza.

Guar (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba) gum relieves constipation, reduces type 1 and 2 diabetes, and lowers cholesterol. Partially hydrolysed guar gum effective in irradicating small intestinal bacterial growth.

Herbs (Origanum sp, Pelargonium sp, Lippia sp, Cymbopogon sp, Thymus sp): sources of essential oils and antioxidant polyphenols, and dried plant parts for use as spices, and herbal teas.

Herbs (Salvia sp, Teucrium sp, Sideritis sp): diterpenes and flavones against polyphagous moths

Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa): dried calyces (anthocyanins).

Mint (Mentha spp.) for relieving tension headaches.

Moringa (Moringa oleifera): seeds, leaves (fatty acids, nutritional elements, antioxidant polyphenols).

Plantago (Plantago psyllium) works as a bulk laxative and reduces constipation.

Purple Viper's Bugloss (Echium plantagineum): seeds (omega-3 and 6 fatty acids).

Pyrethrum (Tanacetum cinerariifolium) treats lice.

St. Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum) extracts for depression, may improve wound healing, and reduce scar formation.

Sesame (Sesamum indicum) for sesamin, sesamolin, and tocopherols.

Yuca (Yucca carnerosana), lechuguilla (Agave lechuguilla), gobernadora (Larrea tridentata), quinua (Chenopodium quinoa); and hojasen (Flourensia cernua): Plant extracts and isolated components against pathogens (e.g. Fusarium oxysporum).

Division member links and research programs: