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Al-Maysam

Al-Maysam- The Center for Medicinal Herbal Research and Application, is situated in the industrial area of Kafr Kana and is one of the main projects of the Galilee Society R&D center. It enjoys support from the Ministries of Science and Education, as well as the local council of Kafr Kana and operates as a learning center and a research center.
Al-Maysam was founded in 1999 with its main objectives as preserving and rediscovering the Ancient Arab tradition and legacy of herbal medicine.

Dr. Omar Said, who received his PhD in pharmacology from the Technion Medical School, undertook the inception of the center, defining its goals and ultimately turning it into one his life's most important creations.

Initially a hot-house was constructed to propagate and preserve native medicinal plants but quickly became a biotechnology center that included the following stations: A lecture hall, laboratories, a small petting zoo and bee hives. In 2001 Al-Maysam officially opened for the general public.

Al-Maysam is a unique biotechnology center in the country and the first in the Arab Sector since it is using modern advanced research to corroborate Traditional Arab Herbal Medicine and make it compatible with Modern Phytotherapy.

  Al-Maysam's Primary Objectives

1. Preserving native medicinal plants, especially those that are in danger of extinction. Preserving and deepening ethnobotany of the native flora. Spreading this knowledge to all levels of society and most importantly scrutinizing this ethnobotanic information under the most rigorous scientific research.

2. Collection and propagation of as many as possible plants that have been used in Traditional Arab Medicine in order to make them accessible to current or future research.

3. Encouraging economic growth and entrepreneurship in the Arab Sector by providing possibilities to manufacture food additives, medicines and cosmetics.

4. Reinforcing theoretical and practical applications of science amongst students in a wide range of informal studies and projects.

Since its inception, Al-Maysam has had an annual average of 10,000 students that visited, studied, researched and enjoyed themselves at the center.

   Programs at Al-Maysam

1. Group Tours: A full day at the center which includes an introductory lecture, science experiments designed for each age group and one other topic selected by the school.

2. "Young Researchers": This program is designed for students that excel in science and want to carry out there own research projects. The program consists of 12 meetings, each 4 hours long. The students begin their research by first defining the main purpose of the research, doing the research itself, analyzing the data and presenting it.

3. School Research Projects: Al- Maysam sponsors students who carry out research projects that count as scholastic credit for high school matriculation exams for chemistry, biology and environmental sciences. This service is also given to college and university students as well.

   The Main Stations/Interest Areas at Al-Maysam

1. The Hothouse: The hothouse contains dozens of medicinal plant species used in Classical Arab Medicine and allows students an intimate connection with the plant species as well as providing availability for year round research. Different extraction techniques from the plants are demonstrated and converted to finished products. Essential Oils are distilled and mixed to make perfumes.

2. Bee Keeping: The beehives introduce students to the fascinating world of bees, their social hierarchies and medicinal by products made from the bees. Students see how products like honey, wax, propolis, venom, pollen and royal jelly are extracted.

3. Compost: Different composting technologies are used here. Students carry out research on the compost, monitoring chemical changes, its effect on agricultural yields, contribution to Organic Agriculture and its economic viability.

4. Aquaculture: Two shallow pools are used for study. The first one is inside the hot-house and is an imitation of a natural aqueous ecosystem. The second pool is equipped with a filter and oxygenation unit. Both pools are used as models for growing fish and algae in a harmonious way along with teaching about aqueous ecosystems in general. Research is conducted regarding the link between water quality and production of fish and algae.

5. Laboratory: The laboratories at Al-Maysam contain the fundamental equipment for conducting academic research. The equipment is not just for "show" but is for the use of the students at their discretion.

6. Petting Zoo: The different animals here help the students gain respect and appreciation for the animal kingdom in general. Students record observations and research regarding their behavior, life cycle and interface with breeding in captivity.

7. Production of Cosmetics: Students distill essential oils and use them to make cosmetic creams that are useful for damaged skin and other ailments.

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