Plant Diversity ›› 2013, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (4): 453-460.DOI: 10.7677/ynzwyj201313058

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The Status and Characteristics of Traditional Medicine Markets in Dali Prefecture

 WANG  Li-1、2, WANG  Yu-Hua-1   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Economic Plants and Biotechnology, Kumming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences,
    Kunming 650201, China; 2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2013-03-23 Online:2013-07-25 Published:2013-05-28


The Dali Prefecture, where Bai, Han and Tibetan ethnic groups are found, is located on the Ancient TeaHorse Road. Trade in tea and medicinal materials, dating back to ancient times, remain important in local markets that serve as centers for exchange of goods and also as cultural centers for the three ethnic groups. With the rapid economic development of China and the influence of western medicine, the traditional markets in the region, and therefore the trade and culture that focuses on medicinal materials, could be under threat. It is important, therefore, to document the characteristics of traditional medicine markets while they still operate. We have conducted an ethnobotanical investigation involving the study of medicinal materials traded in three important traditional markets in Dali. We found that traditional medicine exchange is still an important component of the Bai, Han and Tibetan culture, and that traditional knowledge about medicinal plants differs between these ethnic groups. The three groups have different ways of distributing sales staff and in dealing with different medicinal plants. The multiethnic exchange and diversity of customs in markets illustrate the mutual needs of the three groups and reflect the importance of exchange markets in traditional medicine practised in the area.

Key words: Ethnobotany, Dali prefecture, Traditional medicine markets, Cultural exchange, Traditional knowledge

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