Ethnomedicinal Analysis of Toxic Plants from Five Ethnic Groups in China


  • Huyin Huai Yangzhou University


toxic plant, ethnomedicine, Dai, Lahu, Miao, Wa, Tujia, ethnobotany, AUVs


Toxic plants are important elements of ethnomedicine. Ethnomedicinal knowledge on toxic plants recorded from five indigenous people, Dai, Lahu, Miao, Tujia, and Wa in south and southwestern China, was summarized and analyzed based on available literature. A formula has been developed to evaluate toxic plants in the ethnomedicine of different ethnic groups using the Average Use Values (AUVs) of them. In total, 118 toxic plants often used as ethnomedicines were found from the five ethnic groups. These toxic plants were mainly distributed in 21 families, i.e., 75.4% of species and 68.1% of genera were concentrated in the 21 families. Araceae, Asteraceae, Euphorbiaceae, and Fabaceae are 4 important families which contain rich toxic plants. Eleven toxic plants were thought to be deadly toxic. These toxic plants were often used medicinally to treat injuries from falls, broken bones, and skin problems. Most toxic plants were medicinally used for multiple purposes in the five ethnic groups. The medicinal role of toxic plants was ascertained by comparing the AUVs or UVs in these ethnomedicines. The culture and the resources available were two main factors affecting ethnic healers selecting and using toxic plants. 

Author Biography

Huyin Huai, Yangzhou University

College of Bioscience and Biotechnology




How to Cite

Huai, H. (2010). Ethnomedicinal Analysis of Toxic Plants from Five Ethnic Groups in China. Ethnobotany Research and Applications, 8, 169–179. Retrieved from