Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Healing Herbs
Name: Hugh VanderVeer
Status: N/A 
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 

My name is Hugh VanderVeer and I am a seventh grader at Dorseyville Middle School. I recently finished a paper on herbs that are used in medicines. I concentrated mainly on how they work with the bodies natural defenses. I still need to know what is in these herbs that make them work in the body. Is it a chemical or a certain cell that plant produces that has healing ability in humans?

Plant cells produce many chemicals as do animal cells. Some of these chemicals may produce pharmacolgic effects in people and if so, are called drugs. These drugs generally interfere with the natural defenses of humans and that is why we seek them out. For example pain and swelling are part of the natural defense so, we look to morphine (originally from poppies) and aspirin (originally from European willow bark and some other plants) to quench these effects of injury. I can't think of a drug that augments the natural defenses. Anybody out there that has an example?

Michael B Lomonaco

Click here to return to the Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory