Erica Georgaklis

Erica G

With the presence of traditional medicine in the US including Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, Western Herbalism, and Homeopathy, and the growing interest in cultivating herbs for medicinal purposes, it is important that we look more closely at the effects climatic and ecological shifts have on important medical plants, especially those non-native to the United States. These changes endanger the patients of natural practitioners as the effects of the medicines shift with their shifting chemical components. Importing medicine may also lead to contamination of the plants. Today, the US has extremely limited resources designated to controlling the quality and contamination of imported herbs. In addition, as the demand for herbs grow, sound ecological practices that will preserve future generations of the herb and its environment are left behind. We hope to look at economically and medically important plants and how climate dynamics and human disturbance may affect their production. With a grant from the Maine Space Grant Consortium and the use of College of the Atlantic’s research facilities, we hope to expose four species of medicinal plants from Southeast Asia to various simulated climates (temperature and humidity) to test the variation in growth and chemistry. The objective of the study is to look into best practices for cultivation from seed to harvest of select species under different environmental conditions using both conditions that they are more likely to experience in Maine, to those that are found in their place of origin. This research uses a botanical paradigm to tackle the economic, medical, and ecological of issues of globalization and biodiversity.

See my CV here.

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