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Ethnobotany and Medicinal Chemistry Investigation Culturally Relevant Medicinal Plant Species in Southern Utah

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Maisey Peterson

Additional Presenters:
Kennedi Childs (, Kaleigh Rasmussen (
Southern Utah is a place of great geo- and biodiversity, ranging from ancient rock formations to the myriad of plant and animal species occupying the desert ecosystem. It is perhaps this biodiversity that has drawn the Paiute people to settle here since ~1100 A.D. and allowed them to live and thrive in this land. Along with the majestic mountains and arid plains, there are many species of beautiful and useful plants that have served as medicine and been used for other purposes for generations by the Paiute people in this area. Medicinal plants have been used for millennia in all areas of the world, and are a current inspiration for the creation of synthetic drugs. However, these plants have been unsustainably harvested for these purposes to the point of endangerment or extinction. In Southern Utah many of these plant species have been used medicinally by the Paiute people for centuries. However, when it comes to scientific literature, little exploration has been done on Utah medicinal plants in relation to their ethnobotanical uses. The goal of this project is to bridge the gap between the chemistry of native Utah Flora and their cultural medicinal uses by the Paiute people in an effort to conserve the species along with the rich history that accompanies them. Our group has engaged in compiling data available on the plant species in Southern Utah that are endangered and have cultural significance to the Paitute people. In addition, we are gathering information on historical medicinal uses of these plants. Put together, these data sources reveal significant gaps of knowledge about these plants, and also uncover a great need of preserving culturally meaningful species in a more holistic manner.
University / Institution: Southern Utah University
Type: Poster
Format: In Person
Presentation #D85
SESSION D (3:30-5:00PM)
Area of Research: Science & Technology
Faculty Mentor: Guizella Rocabado