Dr. Solowey’s Middle East Medicinal Plant Project (MEMP), which is sponsored by the Louis L. Borick Natural Medicine Research Center of Hadassah Hospital, aims to protect and propagate the rare medicinal and biblical plants of the Southern Negev and Dead Sea area. MEMP has informed innovative pharmaceutical treatments for cancer and malaria and has stunning implications for the preservation of endangered medicinal plants. Dr. Solowey’s team domesticates these species so that the plant material is available for research without disturbing the wild populations. Among the plants she cultivates are rare members of the Artemisia family from which malaria-fighting drugs have been extracted, and neem trees, which have so many medical uses in India that they are known as the “pharmacy of the village.”
From 2004-2014 Dr. Soloway and her team worked to make the neem tree salt tolerant. After 10 years of work they succeeded and between 2014-2015 three-hundred trees were plants at kibbutz Lotan, a neighboring kibbutz. More of the now salt tolerant trees plan to be planted in other locations this year .