I’m Amanda M. Thiel, Ph.D., an ethnobotanist and cultural anthropologist. I research traditional foods and medicines, among other topics about the human-environment connection in the Americas, with recent and ongoing projects in Mexico, Guatemala, and the US.
Formerly, and for over a decade, I ran a small herbal products company growing plants, crafting products, and teaching about herbal medicine. While I’m no longer in the business of island-grown herbs, I follow my passion for plants and people through ethnobotany research and education.
My passion for plants and people stems from my early love for outdoor experiences and traveling, which opened my eyes to the similarities and differences across cultures in how people interact with plants and other elements of the environment.
To me, ethnobotany research is about gathering information and experiences to understand plant-people connections and sharing this information (within ethical parameters) with the people it impacts and interests.
There are lots of ways to research and learn about ethnobotany. Check out the Resources page to see many organizations and people working in this area.
To learn more about my recent ethnobotany research, take a look at these scientific articles:
- Maya Medicinal Fruit Trees
- Variation in the Cultivation of Medicinal Plants in Guatemala
- Recurring Herbal Remedies in Guatemalan Gardens
- Guatemalan Maya Q’eqchi’ Seasonal Calendar: Methods to Monitor Climate Change Locally
Research is nothing without good relationships. Read my post about the importance of creating positive and ethical working relationships with plant knowledge experts on the Society of Ethnobiology’s blog, Forage.
Quality, ethical ethnobotanical research can lead to the documentation and revitalization of botanical traditions with great cultural significance. There’s so much to learn and appreciate!