Ameenah Gurib-Fakim explores the medical and nutrition secrets of the plants of her island, Mauritius.

Why you should listen

She calls herself a chemist and a gardener (and she has a collection of 200 bonsai), but Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is the leading scientist studying the flora of one of the world's key biodiversity hotspots, the island of Mauritius. As the managing director of the Centre for Phytotherapy Research (Cephyr) and a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Mauritius, she explores and analyzes plants from the island and their health, nutritional and cosmetic applications.

She co-authored the African Herbal Pharmacopoeia, the first resource of its kind, led the first regional research project on the inventory and study of medicinal and aromatic plants of the Indian Ocean, and was the lead coordinating author on the international assessment of agricultural knowledge, science and technology for development, spearheaded by the World Bank. 

Ameenah was honored as one of Foreign Policy's 2015 Global Thinkers .

In June 2015, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim became the first female president of Mauritius.

What others say

“For a long time, people were suspicious of the "bad plants" that I was studying for their medical properties. Some called me "witch", and one night 20 years ago my lab was burned down.” — Ameenah Gurib-Fakim

Ameenah Gurib-Fakim’s TED talk

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Live from TEDGlobal

Field Work: A sneak peek of session 4 at TEDGlobal 2014

October 8, 2014

The speakers in this session can’t be contained in a cubicle or desk chair. These bold thinkers — from an activist surfacing human rights on video to a scientist uncovering the biodiversity of her island nation — do their work out in the world, surfacing fresh insights as they go. The speakers who’ll appear in this session: […]

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