Estella Lumer

Date of Award


First Advisor

Donald McClelland

Second Advisor

Jennifer Daniels


Plants have been used for thousands and thousands of years as a source of food and medicine as well as in rituals and ceremonies. Now, plants are utilized to isolate important medicinal agents or synthesize compounds helpful in treating illnesses. Many books, movies, and TV-shows discuss the relevance of medicinal plants and how they have been used in the past and the present. One place in which medicinal plants are studied and used is Montserrat, an island in the Caribbean. In this thesis, I will provide a literature review of various important medicinal plants found in the Solanaceae, Piperaceae, and Annonaceae families. Then, I will discuss the experiment which I conducted on mice. The intent of the experiment was to provide an initial screening of four different plants on mice, and look at their effects on the memory of the mice. Then, one of the four plants (Datura innoxia) was chosen to conduct a longer experiment. Ten mice were trained in a T-Maze, in order to assess their working and spatial memory. The hope was then to orally administer the plant extract, and see how it would change their ability to complete the maze. However, because of the 2020 pandemic caused by the coronavirus, I was not able to complete my experiment. The COVID-19 and the antibiotic-resistant germs crisis shows us the importance of finding new medications from plants. Humans sometimes have the misconception that traditional medicine and western medicine are completely different and separated from one another, and yet plants can be studied and utilized to make pharmaceutical drugs that can then be used in western medicine. Therefore, it is important to understand both traditional and western medicine, and pick which one to use on a case by case scenario.

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