Since the beginning of humanity's existence, plants have provided us with everything we need for our survival – they sustain us with air to breathe, food to eat, materials to make clothes and shelter with, and medicine to treat and prevent disease. Their beauty can also enhance our mood and provide spiritual and emotional nourishment.
Western science has 'discovered' and named innumerable plant species over the course of its colonial history. To many Indigenous peoples, however, plants have been recognised for centuries as sentient beings, imbued with spirit and agency to help humanity. Publishing in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, The Ethnobotanical offers a unique and beautiful perspective on plants and their roles in the lives of peoples from across the planet.
Dr Sarah Edwards is an ethnobotanist and biodiversity informaticist who worked for many years at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and now lectures at the University of Oxford. She is also the current plant records officer for Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum. Sarah was awarded her PhD from the University of London in 2006 and was a postdoctoral research fellow at UCL School of Pharmacy until 2013, where she is currently an Honorary Research Associate. Her research has included investigating medicinal plant use in the favelas of northeast Brazil; traditional plant knowledge in collaboration with Aboriginal communities in northern Australia; environmental factors in the aetiology of equine grass sickness; and the evidence base of herbal medicines. Sarah is the lead author of the book Phytopharmacy: An Evidence-Based Guide to Herbal Medicinal Products (Wiley, 2015)