Plant Diversity ›› 2020, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (06): 473-478.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2020.12.005

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Skincare plants of the Naxi of NW Yunnan, China

Yanqiang Zhaoa, Zexing Yangb, Bayi Langc, Manfred Shaod, Wu Menge, Dayuan Xuef, Lu Gaog, Lixin Yangc,d   

  1. a College of Forestry and Vocational Technology in Yunnan, Kunming, 650224, Yunnan, China;
    b Department of Reproductive Genetics, the First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, Kunming, 650032, Yunnan, China;
    c Key Laboratory of Economic Plants and Biotechnology, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, 650201, Yunnan, China;
    d Center for Biodiversity and Indigenous Knowledge, Kunming, 650034, Yunnan, China;
    e Duke Global Health Institute, Duke University, NC, 27708, USA;
    f Minzu University of China, Beijing, 10081, China;
    g Yunnan Minzu University, Kunming, 650031, Yunnan, China
  • Received:2020-05-14 Revised:2020-12-10 Online:2020-12-25 Published:2021-03-03
  • Contact: Lixin Yang, Lu Gao
  • Supported by:
    We gratefully thank the Naxi herb doctor in NW Yunnan, China, especially Mr. Qingwei Yao, Mr. Chongshan He, Mr. Jin He, Mr. Sulong He, Mr. Zhongwu Liang, Mr. Jinchun Yang and Mr. Zhijian Zhang who assisted us with the valuable information. This study was funded by Natural Science Foundation of China (No.31670340 and No.31970357) and Bio-Innovation Center of DR PLANT, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Abstract: The Naxi of Northwest Yunnan, China use medicinal plants to treat skin conditions related to traditional lifestyles in extreme environments. However, modernization endangers both the medicinal plants used to treat skin conditions and traditional knowledge. Therefore, investigation and documentation of the medicinal plants used and associated traditional knowledge is necessary. In this study, we conducted an ethnobotanical survey in 12 Naxi communities in Northwest Yunnan. For this purpose, we used semistructured surveys to interview 840 informants from Naxi communities. We used informant consensus factor and use frequency as quantitative indices to evaluate the importance of medicinal plant species. A total of 161 medicinal plant species belonging to 69 families were documented. The highest informant consensus factor (ICF) values were recorded for skin nourishing (ICF=0.849), frostbite and chapped skin (ICF=0.833). These skin treatments are highly related to the environment and lifestyle of Naxi communities. The main active compounds of plants used to treat skin conditions in Naxi communities are known to have skin-treating properties. This study reveals that the skin conditions treated by the Naxi are associated with traditional medicine culture and social economic development. In addition, this study uses ethnobotanical indices to explain how skin condition treatments are linked to the natural environment of Naxi communities.

Key words: Skincare plants, Traditional knowledge, Naxi, NW Yunnan