natural medecine research center

About natural medecine research center

Dr. Sallon was born in the UK in 1949 and studied at University College London gaining her BSc. in Physiology in 1970 and her medical degree (MBBS) at University College Hospital in 1975. She later specialized in Pediatrics gaining her Membership of the Royal College of Physicians, (MRCP) London in 1986. After emigrating to Israel in 1983 until 2005 she specialized as a pediatric gastroenterologist at Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) in Jerusalem, Israel, amongst the leading medical and research centers in the region. Dr. Sallon also spent several years working as a pediatrician in Ethiopia, India and Nepal.

Dr Sallon began her research experience at the Kuvin Center, Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Medicine, focusing on parasitic causes of diarrhea and malnutrition in children. She was the first person to describe cryptosporodial infection in children in Gaza

In 1994 she established the LOUIS L. BORICK NATURAL MEDICINE RESEARCH CENTER (NMRC) at Hadassah Hospital which she currently heads. The aim of this Center is to provide a multi-disciplinary research basis for the scientific investigation & study of natural & complementary medicines.



MEMP plantation site, Kibbutz Ketura (R) Dr. Sarah Sallon, Director NMRC, (L) Dr. Elaine Solowey, Director Sustainable Agriculture AIES

• Ethnobotany of regional flora This long term NMRC initiated/ led project is focused on the ethnobotany, scientific analysis and conservation of medicinal plants in Israel and the Middle East. NMRC`s unique archival data base containing traditional/ historical information on the usage of over 500 local medicinal plants has been used previously by NMRC in ethno-directed sampling and focused scientific screening of hundreds of local plants for drug discovery programs including published studies on Alzheimer`s Disease, neurodegenerative conditions, cancer & anti-infective activity (See below).

In 2016 Dr Sallon (PI) was awarded a USAID / MERC (Middle East Regional Cooperation Program grant in collaboration with Palestinian researchers at The Biodiversity and Environmental Research Center, (BERC) Nablus, to design an ethnobotanical web site of local medicinal plants (Flora Palaestina) based on joint archival data and to also preserve in sustainable cultivation sites a number of economically important plants.

The project completed in June 2021 currently hosts the first English language ethnobotanical web site of plants native to this region (FLORAPALE ) An educational/ research tool the web site currently contains: traditional /historic uses on over 300 local plants by Jewish and Arab communities; extensive botanical information on these plants (in conjunction with the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens); search engines in English Hebrew and Arabic; unique “updated” information fields where historical / traditional data is explained and interpreted to suggest its potential or possible bioactivity in modern terms; extensive comments on specific species using historical and modern sources; up to date information on toxicity, adverse & side effects; essays on the botanical and ethnobotanical significance of this region etc.

• Research and development of local flora: for anti-cancer, anti-neurodegenerative, anti-oxidant, anti-viral, anti-bacterial & anti-fungal activity in conjunction with scientists at HMO and Hebrew University of Jerusalem

• Conservation & domestication of local species particularly from arid regions of Israel including endangered/ vulnerable& rare plants in conjunction with The Arava Institute of Environmental Science (AIES) at Kibbutz Ketura in southern Israel. in central and southern Israel.

NMRC and BERC teams visiting plant propagation unit Kibbutz Ketura for economically important plants.

• Germinating ancient seeds : This long term NMRC project initially involved the first successful germination of ancient date seeds (Phoenix dactylifera) recovered from archaeological excavations in the Judean desert (Sallon et al. Science 19 Dec. 2008, 322).
Photo Credit: Guy Eisner
Ancient date seeds prior to planting

Photo Credit: Sarah Sallo
Genetics of ancient date seedlings : In collaboration with partners at the Institute of Research, Montpellier France, Arava Institute of Environmental Sciences, Kibbutz Ketura, University of Zurich and New York University (NY & Abu Dhabi) we have focused on the microsatellite genotyping of DNA extracted from the leaves of these ancient seedlings germinated from these 2000 year old date seeds and morphometric analysis of the seeds compared to modern date varieties. These results, recently published (Sallon et al. Science Advances) have shown for the first time the genetic configuration & inheritance pattern of the historic Judean date palm, once a major economic crop of ancient Israel but extinct for more than a 1000 yrs as well as its potential relevance to modern date palm cultivation.

Photo Credit: Guy Eisner
Germinated ancient date seedlings. (a-c): Adam (110 mth), Jonah (63 mth), Uriel (54 mth) (d-f): Boaz (54 mth), Judith (47 mth), Hannah (88 mth)

Gene sequencing ancient seedlings In 2021 in collaboration with NYU`s evolutionary genomics project (See below), gene sequencing of 7 germinated ancient date seedlings was published (PNAS May 11, 2021) providing important insights into the origins and potential nutritional qualities of ancient dates.
Our current research in conjunction with The Agricultural Research Organization (ARO). Israel, is focused on the nutritional & medicinal qualities of the first dates produced by a 2000 year old female date palm using pollen of a 2000 yr old male

Recent Media interest on the Ancient Date project

• Neglected food plants: As the site of the first domestication of some of the worlds most important food crops more than 10,000 years ago, Israel today contains many edible species with a long history of consumption by the population. Many of these species including wild crop relatives and ancestors, however are now neglected and endangered due to over harvesting in the wild, environmental degradation, climate change and replacement by western type diets and “fast foods”. With the world wide loss today of agricultural biodiversity and increasing risk of biotic hazards, these underexploited edible food plants present a unique opportunity for research and sustainable cultivation. NMRC with the aid of its archival MEMP data base has identified many of these “forgotten food plants” and currently, in conjunction with AIES Kibbutz Ketura is propagating and domesticating a number of species. These plants form the basis of NMRC`s most recent USAID MERC program in conjunction with The National Research Center in Jordan, AIES and the Agricultural Research Organization in Israel

• Clinical and in-vitro investigation of Tibetan Medicine produced by the Swiss company PADMA AG including research on cardiovascular disease (PADMA 28) and Irritable Bowel (PADMA LAX)

• Issues of mercury content in Traditional Tibetan Medicine (TTM) NMRC has a long standing research program on Traditional Tibetan Medicine (TTM) with Men-Tsee-Khang Institute of Traditional Tibetan Medicine, Dharamsala, India. We have focused on the safety and role of mercury a common and controversial ingredient in many Asian traditional medicines. Previously our research in collaboration with the Dept. of Toxicology Tel Hashomer did not show adverse effects in Tibetan patients in India taking these medicines (Sallon et al; Human & Experimental Toxicology (2006) 25, 405 - 412, Sallon et al; Exp. Biology & Medicine (e Publication Oct 27 2016). More recently we have focused on Chinese claims regarding Tibetan medicine and its alleged connection to environmental mercury and high methyl mercury exposure in Tibet (see recent publication below). In recognition of NMRC`s contribution research in Tibetan medicine we have been privileged to host 3 visits of H. H The Dali Lama to Israel.

Using Eastern & Western Mind-Body techniques to improve the health and well being of hospital workers & patients. NMRC`s flag ship program “Caring for the Caregivers” uses a multidisciplinary approach to reduce stress based on different stress reduction modalities including Mindfulness, Yoga, Tai Chi and Chi Qong. With over 100 Hadassah staff as participants and controls, are published results (Sallon et al . Behavioral Medicine 43, 1 2017 ) showed highly significant improvement in a variety of parameters used to assess the efficacy of the intervention including Burn Out, Job Related Tension, Physical and Mental wellness, Personal Affect etc.) Currently we are analyzing participants questionnaires based on written reports by the participants using a “mixed methods” analysis to further assess the impact of this program on health and well- being and using the results as a basis for future shorter term intervention stress reduction programs in both hospital staff and patients

Ms. Debbie Eisner, Instructor and course designer, Caring for the Caregivers

4. USING NATURAL RESOURCES IN AGRICULTURE • Using local medicinal plants as alternatives to antibiotics & antifungals in the aquaculture and poultry industries. • Using light to extend shelf life of perishable fruits and vegetables.

5. TEACHING PROGRAMS : NMRC combines an holistic perspective of traditional and natural therapies with modern research-based methodology to equip prospective researchers with up to date and evidence based tools required to study and evaluate natural therapies.


Parasitology/ Gastroenterology

Sallon, S, Deckelbaum, R et al. Cryptosporidium, Malnutrition and Chronic Diarrhea in Children. Am. J. Dis. Childhood (1988), 142, 312-315.

Sallon, S. Persistent Diarrhea in Children in Developing Countries: Role of Known Enteropathogens (Contribution). WHO Diarrheal Disease Contol Programme, Dec. 1987

Sallon, S, El-Shawwa, R. et al. Cryptosporidium in Children in Gaza. Annals of Tropical Paediatrics (1990), 11, 227-281.

Sallon, S., El-Shawwa, R., Khalil, M. et al. Diarrheal Disease in Children in Gaza. Ann. of Trop. Paed. (1993)

Granot, E., Sallon, S. et al. Coeliac Disease: “Early” and “Late” Diagnosis. Israel J. Medical Science,(1993)

Medicinal plants
Sallon S, Solowey E, Cohen Y, Korchinsky R, Egli M, Woodhatch I, Simchoni O, Kislev M, (2008). Germination, Genetics and growth of an ancient date seed. Science 320:1464.

Sallon S, Solowey E, Cohen Y, Egli M, Simchoni O, Kislev M (2008) Old seeds coming in from the cold . Science (letters)322: 1789-1790

Solowey E, Lichtenstein M, Sallon S, Paavilainen H, Solowey E , Lorberboum-Galski H Evaluating Medicinal Plants for Anticancer Activity. The Scientific World Journal Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 721402, 12 pages

Tsalkovich L, Sallon S, Paavilainen H, Rosenman H. Anti-Alzheimers disease related activity of Israeli Medicinal Plants. JSM Alzheimer's Disease and Related Demantia 2 (1) 2015

Sallon S, Cherif E, Chabrillange N, Solowey E, Gros-Balthazard M, Ivorra S, Terral J-F, Egli M, Aberlenc F, Origins and insights into the historic Judean date palm based on genetic analysis of germinated ancient seeds and morphometric studies, Science Advances 6, eaax0384 (2020)

Gros-Balthazard M, Flowers J.M. Hazzouri K.M , Ferrand S, Aberlenc F, Sallon S, Purugganan M.D. The genomes of ancient date palms germinated from 2,000-year-old seeds" PNAS May 11, 2021 118 (19) e2025337118;

Traditional Tibetan Medicine
Sallon, S., Ginsburg, I. Padma 28 Ancient Approach to Modern Disease. Proc Int. Conference Traditional Medicine, St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada (Aug 1995).

Matzner, Y, Sallon, S. The Effect of Padma-28, a Traditional Tibetan Herbal Preparation, on Human Neutrophil Function. J. Clin. Lab. Immunol. (1995), 46, 13-23.

Ginsberg I, Sadovnik, M, Sallon S, Milo-Goldzweig I, Mechowlan R, Breur A, Gibbs D, Varani J, Roberts S, Cleator E. Padma 28, a traditional Tibetan herbal preparation inhibits the respiratory burst in neutrophils, the killing of epithelial cells by mixtures of oxidants and pro-inflammatory, the per oxidation of lipids. Inflammopharmacology (1999) 7;47-62

Sallon S, Beer G, et al The efficacy of Padma 28, a herbal preparation in the treatment of intermittent claudication: a controlled double-blind study with objective assessment of chronic occlusive arterial disease patients. J Vascular Investigation (1998) 4;129-136.

Sallon S, Ligumski M, Shapiro H, Ben Arie E, Davidson R, Ginsburg. Treatment of Constipation predominant Irritable bowel syndrome IBS using Padma Lax, a Traditional Tibetan Formula. Digestion(2002); 65: 161-171.

Sallon S., Padma 28: An ancient approach to a modern disease, Natural Health Products Report March (2001), 36-41

Aingorn H., Bavab R. Fallaudlita L., Sallon S., Mechoulam R., Vlodovsky I. Brodt P. Padma 28 a herbal preparation used as an anti-atherosclerotic agent blocks, cellular response to bFGF and IGFF-11. Inflammopharmacolog (2004) ;12(4)373-389
Sallon S Namgal T Dolma S Dorjii P et al .Mercury in Tibetan Medicine –Panacea or problem? Human & Experimental Toxicology (2006) 25:405-41215

Sallon S Drory Y, Bargouti Y, Tamdin T, Sagmo R, Tashi J, Yangdon S, Yeshi T, Tsadung T. Rottenburg R et al Is Mercury in Tibetan Medicine Toxic? : Clinical, Neurocognitive and Biochemical Results of an Initial Cross-sectional Study. Experimental Biology and Medicine (e Publication Oct 27 2016)

Sallon S, Roberts S, Tamdin T, Tashi, J, Sangmo R, Lhundup T, Pempa P, Tanton TW Comment on “Traditional Tibetan Medicine Induced High Methylmercury Exposure Level and Environmental Mercury Burden in Tibet, China” Environ. Sci. Technol. 2019, 53, 21, 12953–12955

Behavioral /Complementary Medicine
Sahar T, Sallon S. Survey of attitudes of medical students to complementary medicine course. Harefuah. 2001 Oct;140(10):907-10, 991

Sallon S, Eisner D , Yaffee H. Bdoloch T, Caring for the Care givers Stress . Results of a 5 component Stress Reduction intervention in hospital staff. Behavioral Medicine .e-publication Oct 2015 (ahead of print) ISSN 0896-4289print /1940-4026 online DOI:10. 1080/0894289. 2015.1053426

Selected Research Grants/ Donations
1990 – 1991 Leverhulme Trust, London, (UK): Cryptosporidiosis in Gaza
1990 – 1991 Medical Research Council, (UK) : Cryptosporidiosis in Gaza
1992 - 1992 Wellcome Trust, (UK): Cryptosporidiosis in Gaza
1994 - 1995 Rufford Foundation (UK) Middle Eastern Medicinal Plants
1995 - 1996 Canada-Israel Industrial Research Foundation: Seaweed studies
1996 - 1997 Charles Gartner Foundation, (USA): Tibetan medicines
!995 - 2006 Padma AG, (Switzerland): Padma Tibetan medicine, Clinical trials
1998 - 2009 L. Borick Foundation, (USA): Stress Reduction, Medicinal plants

1998 – 2001 Swartz Foundation (USA): Middle Eastern Medicinal Plants
2004 - 2005 Dead Sea Research Foundation (Israel): Middle Eastern Medicinal plants
2006 - 2008 Zanker Foundation.(USA :Middle East plants,
2005 - 2009 Camellia Foundation (UK) :Middle East plants, Tibetan Medicine
2006 -2007 Goldman Foundation (UK): Middle East plants conservation
2012 -2020 Louise Gartner Foundation (USA): Ancient date seed generation
2008- 2016 Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust,(UK): Fruit & vegetable preservation; Ancient date seed generation
2002- 2020 Henkind Katz Foundation (USA) Stress Reduction
2010- 2012 Merrin Family Fund: Ancient date seed generation

2016- 2020 USAID /Middle East Regional Co-operation (MERC) Ethnobotanical web site of Flora Palaestina