The word nutraceutical was first contrived by Stephen DeFelice, M.D., founder and chairman of the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine, in the 1980s. The term, which combines the words nutrition and pharmaceutical, is defined as a food that contains a medical benefit beyond that of basic nutrition. Many nutraceuticals are desired for their preventative benefits and possible treatment of disease, and are one of the fastest growing components in the food industry.
The enthusiasm for the project led to a partnership in research, design, and installation with students and volunteers working together. The research was in-depth and included origin, history, plant description, nutritional value and medicinal qualities, uses, and sources. A landscape design was created for each component, which were established as the featured garden of the Horticulture Center in 2008. Each garden continues to grow and offer its own unique presentation, while at the same time being interpretative in nature.