Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Mao's heritage: medicinal plant knowledge among the Bai in Shaxi, China, at a crossroad between distinct local and common widespread practice


Weckerle, C S; Ineichen, R; Huber, F K; Yang, Y (2009). Mao's heritage: medicinal plant knowledge among the Bai in Shaxi, China, at a crossroad between distinct local and common widespread practice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 123(2):213-228.

Abstract

Ethnopharmacological relevance: The study focuses on medicinal plant knowledge among the Bai in the Shaxi Valley, Northwest Yunnan, where no ethnobotanical study has been conducted so far. In an area of high biodiversity, distinct medicinal plant knowledge is documented and the influence of herbals on local knowledge is revealed.

Aim of the study: To analyse current medicinal plant knowledge among the Bai in the context of the influence of the Han culture and mainstream Chinese herbal medicine.

Materials and methods: During fieldwork in summer 2005, semistructured interviews were conducted with 68 stakeholders, and voucher specimens of all plants mentioned were prepared.

Results: A total of 176 medicinal plant species were documented and 1133 use-reports have been collected. Overall, 91.5% of the documented plants are already established as known drugs, and are mentioned in books on medicinal plants in Yunnan and China. Furthermore, the way in which they are used largely coincides. Fourteen plant species represent novel recordings, 9 of which were independently mentioned by three or more informants.

Conclusions: The medicinal plant knowledge of the Bai is strongly influenced by mainstream Chinese herbal medicine and especially by medicinal plant books from the 1970s, which were distributed under Mao Zedong's directive to improve rural health care. We conclude that these herbals have exerted, and continue to exert, a strong influence on the standardisation of plant knowledge among rural populations in China. However, distinct local use of plants also exists, indicating that plant knowledge specific to the Bai people is alive and practiced.

Abstract

Ethnopharmacological relevance: The study focuses on medicinal plant knowledge among the Bai in the Shaxi Valley, Northwest Yunnan, where no ethnobotanical study has been conducted so far. In an area of high biodiversity, distinct medicinal plant knowledge is documented and the influence of herbals on local knowledge is revealed.

Aim of the study: To analyse current medicinal plant knowledge among the Bai in the context of the influence of the Han culture and mainstream Chinese herbal medicine.

Materials and methods: During fieldwork in summer 2005, semistructured interviews were conducted with 68 stakeholders, and voucher specimens of all plants mentioned were prepared.

Results: A total of 176 medicinal plant species were documented and 1133 use-reports have been collected. Overall, 91.5% of the documented plants are already established as known drugs, and are mentioned in books on medicinal plants in Yunnan and China. Furthermore, the way in which they are used largely coincides. Fourteen plant species represent novel recordings, 9 of which were independently mentioned by three or more informants.

Conclusions: The medicinal plant knowledge of the Bai is strongly influenced by mainstream Chinese herbal medicine and especially by medicinal plant books from the 1970s, which were distributed under Mao Zedong's directive to improve rural health care. We conclude that these herbals have exerted, and continue to exert, a strong influence on the standardisation of plant knowledge among rural populations in China. However, distinct local use of plants also exists, indicating that plant knowledge specific to the Bai people is alive and practiced.

Statistics

Citations

20 citations in Web of Science®
22 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

419 downloads since deposited on 07 Apr 2009
26 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Language:English
Date:22 June 2009
Deposited On:07 Apr 2009 19:08
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:11
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0378-8741
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2009.03.014

Download

Preview Icon on Download
Preview
Content: Accepted Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 1MB
View at publisher
Preview Icon on Download
Filetype: PDF - Registered users only
Size: 958kB

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations