10/16/23 Medicinal Botany

Tamarack tree branch – Tamarack was historically used as a treatment for colds and rheumatic fevers, among other things. Photo by Maisie Wiler.


Medicinal Botany: Exploring traditional ecological knowledge and western laboratory science

Monday, October 16th, 2023

6:30 pm to 8:30 pm (Eastern Time)

Bunker Interpretive Center, Calvin University

1750 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49525

  • Public Welcome
  • Free Event
  • Chapter Meeting
  • Program/Speaker Presentation
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Public Restroom
  • Free Public Parking
  • Drinking Fountains

Presented by Madison (Maisie) Wiler

Four out of five FDA-approved medicines are derived from plant compounds. Even so, scientists believe that nature’s pharmaceutical value is largely unexplored—but many scientists seeking to develop new medicines fail to consult with indigenous nations, whose traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) encompasses medicines unknown or unused in western pharmacology. This presentation will explore traditional medicines, their uses, and will provide an evidentiary basis for their efficacy with comparisons to western laboratory science. Additionally, we will discuss the issue of exploitation of Indigenous nations by pharmaceutical companies.


Maisie Wiler is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources Management. She worked at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore this past summer. Her research interests include ethnobotany, biogeography, and natural-cultural ecosystem restoration with traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). She is an avid hiker, rock collector, and hobby photographer.

Below photos: Maisie Wiler working at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore