Ethnobotanical entrepreneurship for indigenous biocultural resilience: Rhodiola rosea in Nunatsiavut

Mardones, Vanessa (2019) Ethnobotanical entrepreneurship for indigenous biocultural resilience: Rhodiola rosea in Nunatsiavut. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Rhodiola rosea (L.) (syn. Sedum rosea (L.); Crassulaceae; rhodiola, roseroot) is an amphi-Atlantic, Arctic-alpine plant with considerable value in both traditional pharmacopeias and the commercial natural products industry. Global market demand for rhodiola as a natural health product with potent antioxidant and adaptogenic properties has resulted in unsustainable wild harvesting in Eurasia. However, rhodiola is not commercially sourced in eastern Canada, where it grows prolifically along the coast of Nunatsiavut, Labrador. Nunatsiavut Inuit have traditionally used rhodiola, locally known as tulligunak, as food and medicine; however, due to globalization and significant socialecological changes, these Inuit communities are beginning to explore ethnobotanical innovation and entrepreneurship. Cultivation of rhodiola in Nunatsiavut for natural health products presents an opportunity for a sustainable, community-based enterprise that integrates ancestral knowledge with biocultural innovation, bringing both socioeconomic benefits that align with community priorities and renewed connection to ancestral practices. Given the extensive range of this plant, the geographical variability in growth and phytochemistry of Labrador rhodiola populations must be addressed in order to inform ecotype selection and cultivation conditions. Further, because cultural context is a key factor influencing success of community-based enterprises, it is critical to consider the unique biocultural context when developing an enterprise intended to build capacity in participating communities. This thesis will explore the biology, biocultural context, and business opportunity for Nunatsiavut rhodiola, to inform development of a community-based enterprise in Nunatsiavut, cultivating local ecotypes of rhodiola for a natural health product, bringing benefits to a remote Indigenous community, and helping mitigate pressure on wild populations of rhodiola due to commercial harvest activities. The results showed that Nunatsiavut Inuit Elders and community report both medicinal and food uses of the local rhodiola, and they are enthusiastic at the prospective social, economic, and health benefits of a community-based enterprise centered around cultivation and marketing of local rhodiola. Coastal Labrador rhodiola was found to contain known medicinal marker compounds, and environmental factors were found to have a significant effect upon rhizome biomass and phytochemistry.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 13998
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords: Ethnobotany, Nunatsiavut Inuit, Medicinal plants, Indigenous entrepreneurship, Plant phenotypes, Adaptive systems
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Biology
Date: August 2019
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Roseroot--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador--Therapeutic use; Roseroot--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador--Marketing; Inuit--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador--Ethnobotany

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