Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used by Miao people in Jijiezi, Yunnan, China

Yong Ma, Dongyang Liu, Hong Cheng, Rainer W. Bussmann, Huajie He, Zhiyong Guo, Bo Liu


Background: The Miao ethnic group is an indigenous group in China with a long history of traditional medicine utilization and owns rich traditional knowledge related to biodiversity utilization and conservation. In Jijiezi village, Yunnan, the Miao ethnic group is the main ethnic group and retains a rich traditional culture. The area is rich in plant resources and the custom of using Miao medicine is still retained. It is important to evaluate the inheritance of the knowledge of Miao medicine in the region and the development prospects of Miao medicine culture.

Methods: The data was collected in different seasons in 2014, with a total of 200 informants interviewed using free listing and semi-structured interviews.

Results: This study recorded the ethnobotanical importance of Miao medicine in Jijiezi, Yunnan, China. 42 species from 26 families and 37 genera were identified. For each species scientific and Miao names, distribution, and use knowledge were recorded and analyzed which can help the assessment the current status of Miao traditional medicine. The results show that the traditional knowledge of Miao medicine is very rich and has a good therapeutic effect on a variety of diseases, and that there is a homology of medicine and food. However, the traditional knowledge of Miao medicine is more and more getting lost and needs urgent protection.

Conclusions: It is important to protect the traditional Miao medicine knowledge and promote sustainable development of Miao medicine culture. We propose to protect and develop local Miao medicine knowledge, and suggest (1) documentation of species used in this practice may provide basic information for conservation, and further use, and will help to preserve local traditional knowledge, (2) training of practitioners in Miao medicine to maintain Miao medicine culture, (3) encourage local governments to adopt relevant policies to protect the culture of Miao medicine, and (4) bring Miao medicine into the market and promoting the development of Miao medicine.

Keywords: Miao nationality, traditional knowledge, Medicinal plants, Yunnan, Biodiversity

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Ethnobotany Research and Applications (ISSN 1547-3465) is published online by the Department of Ethnobotany, Institute of Botany, Ilia State University.
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