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25 December 2020, Volume 42 Issue 06
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  • Editorial
    Vital roles for ethnobotany in conservation and sustainable development
    Shengji Pei, Hamilton Alan, Yuhua Wang
    2020, 42(06):  399-400.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2020.12.001
    Abstract ( 20 )   HTML ( )   PDF (291KB) ( 24 )   Save
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    Articles
    Ethnobotany and diversity of medicinal plants used by the Buyi in eastern Yunnan, China
    Yong Xiong, Xueyi Sui, Selena Ahmed, Zhi Wang, Chunlin Long
    2020, 42(06):  401-414.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2020.09.004
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    The Buyi are a socio-linguistic group in Yunnan Province of southwest China that have a long history of using medicinal plants as part of their indigenous medical system. Given the limited written documentation of the Buyi indigenous medical system, the objective of this paper is to document the medicinal plants of the Buyi and associated traditional knowledge and transmission. Field research was conducted in four villages in Lubuge Township of Luoping County in Yunnan Province using ethnobotanical methodologies including participatory observation, semi-structured interviews, key informant interviews, and focus group discussions to elicit information on medicinal plants. In total, 120 informants (including 15 key informants who are healers) were interviewed. This study found that a total of 121 medicinal plant species belonging to 64 families are used by the Buyi including by local healers to treat different diseases. Among the medicinal plants recorded in this study, 56 species (46%) have not previously been documented in the scientific literature as having medicinal value, highlighting the pressing need for ethnobotanical documentation in indigenous communities. The most frequently used medicinal part was the leaf (24.9% of documented plants), and the most common preparation method was decoction (62.8% of medicinal). Medicinal plants were mainly used to treat rheumatism (12.4% of plants), trauma and injuries (9.6%). The documented plants are also used for other non-medicinal purposes including food, fodder, fencing, and ornamental. In addition, 35 of the medicinal plants are considered poisonous and are used by local Buyi healers for medicine. The traditional Buyi beliefs and practices associated with the documented medicinal plants likely contributes to their conservation in the environments and around Buyi communities. This study further highlights that ethnomedicinal knowledge of the Buyi is at risk of disappearing due to increased introduction and use of modern medicine in Buyi communities, livelihood changes, rapid modernization, and urbanization. Research, policy, and community programs are urgently needed to conserve the biocultural diversity associated with the Buyi medical system including ethnobotanical knowledge towards supporting both environmental and human wellbeing.
    Ethnobotanical survey of plants traditionally used against hematophagous invertebrates by ethnic groups in the mountainous area of Xishuangbanna, Southwest China
    Yi Gou, Zhennan Li, Ruyan Fan, Zuchuan Qiu, Lu Wang, Chen Wang, Yuhua Wang
    2020, 42(06):  415-426.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2020.07.009
    Abstract ( 6 )   HTML ( )   PDF (20352KB) ( 102 )   Save
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    Hematophagous invertebrates such as mosquitoes, leeches, mites, ticks, lice and bugs cause various problems for humans. Considering reports on insecticide resistance and requirements for improved environmental and toxicological profiles, there is a continuing need to discover and develop new insecticides and repellents. Ethnobotanical surveys of traditional plant-based repellents provide a direct method of identifying plants for potential use. During five field surveys in Bulang, Jinuo and Lahu villages between August 2018 and July 2019, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 237 informants (151 male, 86 female; mean age 63). Frequency of citation, use value, informant consensus factor and Jaccard index were employed to statistically analyze the collected data. A total of 709 use reports relating to 32 plant species and 71 remedies were collected. Similarities and differences between the three groups, as well as the Dai and Hani of Xishuangbanna, who were studied earlier, were shown through network analysis. These five ethnic groups living in the same area have a common understanding of traditional botanical knowledge against hematophagous invertebrates, but each group also possesses unique knowledge. Recording and protecting this traditional knowledge is potentially useful for protecting this cultural diversity and related biodiversity and can also have important practical applications. In this study, traditional knowledge provided us with many new potential plants for follow-up research for the development of new insecticides and repellents, among which Artemisia indica, Nicotiana tabacum and Clausena excavata are the most promising.
    Ethnobotanical study on medicinal plants from the Dragon Boat Festival herbal markets of Qianxinan, southwestern Guizhou, China
    Wei Gu, Xiaojiang Hao, Zehuan Wang, Jiayu Zhang, Liejun Huang, Shengji Pei
    2020, 42(06):  427-433.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2020.12.010
    Abstract ( 8 )   HTML ( )   PDF (2659KB) ( 6 )   Save
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    Dragon Boat Festival herbal markets in the Qianxinan Buyi and Miao Autonomous Prefecture of southwestern Guizhou have a long well-conserved history. These markets, which are a feature of Buyi and Miao traditional medicines, contain a rich diversity of medicinal plants and traditional medical knowledge. Today, people in southwestern Guizhou still believe that using herbs during the Dragon Boat Festival prevents and can treat disease. In this study, we identified the fresh herbal plants sold at the herbal markets of Xingren City and Zhenfeng County in Qianxinan Buyi and Miao Autonomous Prefecture and quantified their importance. We identified 141 plant species (belonging to 114 genera and 61 families). The plant family with the most species was Asteraceae (14 species). Informants reported that most medicinal plants are herbaceous, with 95.7% of plants used for decoction and 30.5% used for medicinal baths. Medicinal plants are most commonly used to treat rheumatism, injury, and abdominal diseases. The utilization frequency index and relative importance values indicated that Artemisia argyi and Acorus calamus are the most important plants sold at herbal markets during the Dragon Boat Festival. The price of medicinal materials sold in the market may serve as an indicator of the conservation status of species in the region. These findings indicate that the Dragon Boat Festival herbal markets in the Qianxinan Buyi and Miao Autonomous Prefecture fully embodies the characteristics of indigenous ethnomedicine and culture, and also exhibits the diversity of plant resources. We recommend that rare and endangered plants in this region be domesticated and protected.
    Folk nomenclature of plants in Cistanche deserticola-associated community in South Gobi, Mongolia
    Urtnasan Mandakh, Munkhjargal Battseren, Danzanchadav Ganbat, Turuutuvshin Ayanga, Zolzaya Adiya, Almaz Borjigidai, Chunlin Long
    2020, 42(06):  434-442.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2020.09.008
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    Cistanche deserticola is an important medicinal plant in Mongolia. Despite its significant role in local healing systems, little traditional knowledge had been reported. The present study investigated folk names of C. deserticola and other species of the same community in Umnugobi Province, South Gobi region of Mongolia, based on ethnobotanical approaches. The high correspondence between folk names and scientific names of plant species occurring in Cistanche-associated community shows the scientific meaning of folk nomenclature and classification in Mongolia. The Mongolian and folk names of plants were formed on the basis of observations and understanding of wild plants including their morphology, phenology and traditional uses as well. Results from this study will support the conservation of C. deserticola itself, a rare and endangered plant species listed in the Monglian Red Data Book. Our documentation of folk nomenclature based on 96 plant species in the Cistanche community, as a part of traditional knowledge associated with biodiversity, will be very helpful for making strategy of plant biodiversity conservation in Mongolia.
    Ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants traded in herbal markets of Kahramanmaraş
    Seyran Palabaş Uzun, Cennet Koca
    2020, 42(06):  443-454.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2020.12.003
    Abstract ( 9 )   HTML ( )   PDF (1423KB) ( 11 )   Save
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    Most people in the world still use medicinal plants to treat and prevent disease. In Anatolia, studies have shown that people have used plants for centuries to treat many diseases. Herbal markets play an important role in the supply of medicinal plants and the transmission of cultural heritage. In this study, we investigated the traditional uses of medicinal plants traded in Kahramanmaraş herbal markets. We also analyzed the threats that may arise from the use of medicinal plants and the measures that can be taken to protect these plants. For these purposes, ethnomedicinal data were collected using semistructured and open-ended questionnaires of herbalists and local people. Ethnobotanical indices (e.g., Relative Frequency of Citation, Use Value, Relative Importance, and Informant Consensus Factor) were used to quantify the use and cultural importance of medicinal plants sold at Kahramanmaraş herbal markets. We identified 62 taxa (11 imported) of plants that are used in traditional folk medicines. The top three plant taxa sold per year by herbalists at Kahramanmaraş herbal markets are Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra; 140 kg), Thyme (Thymus sp.; 109 kg), and Carob (Ceratonia siliqua; 106.5 kg). The plant parts and mode of utilization used most are leaves (28 reports) and infusion (36 reports), respectively. The highest ICF value was detected for endocrine system ailments (0.78), and the next highest two values were lymphatic system (0.75) and respiratory system ailments (0.72). We determined that Urtica dioica, G. glabra, Thymus sp., Mentha x piperita have widely traditional uses, with high ethnobotanical index values and use reports. In addition, according to IUCN criteria, 26 of 62 taxa identified in the research are under threat to various degrees on a global scale.
    Nutrient value of wild fodder species and the implications for improving the diet of mithun (Bos frontalis) in Dulongjiang area, Yunnan Province, China
    Yanfei Geng, Sailesh Ranjitkar, Qiaoshun Yan, Zhijun He, Baqi Su, Shengtao Gao, Junli Niu, Dengpan Bu, Jianchu Xu
    2020, 42(06):  455-463.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2020.09.007
    Abstract ( 9 )   HTML ( )   PDF (14882KB) ( 216 )   Save
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    Wild fodder plants are valuable because they provide an important livestock feed resource globally, especially for smallholder farmers, and have important roles in natural resource management. In-depth knowledge of wild forage plants can motivate local people for feed resource and habitat conservation of threatened herbivores such as Mithun (Bos frontalis). Mithun occur in small patches in the mountains of Dulongjiang, nearby villagers domesticated this animal but left animal to freely graze in the mountains. Many fodder plants occur in these mountains, however, little is known about their nutritional value. We conducted an ethnobotanical survey to document important wild fodder plants consumed by mithun in the Dulongjiang Township. The nutritional content of 21 highly mentioned wild fodder plants in an ethnobotanical survey was examined. Laboratory analysis showed that Fagopyrum dibotrys were the fodder species with the highest crude protein (CP) content (26.89%), followed by Polygonum molle (21.88%) and Hydrangea longipes (21.12%). Synthesis of relative feed value index and grey relational grade, P. molle, H. longipes and Tetrastigma obtectum were ranked the top three nutritional fodders. There was a significant difference between 21 species on their in vitro digestibility and the most highly digestible fodder species was Elatostema hookerianum. Linear model analysis on relationship between frequency of citation of 21 wild forage plants by local farmers and their nutrient composition showed that the frequency was significantly positively correlated with the nutritional value of the feed (R2=0.28, P<0.05). We concluded that these species have high nutritional values to improve mithun production in integrated crop-livestock systems. Fodder species or mixtures of species with useful nutritional characters could be cultivated to improve livestock productivity, habitat conservation including that of mithun and wild forage resource management.
    Plant diversity in herbal tea and its traditional knowledge in Qingtian County, Zhejiang Province, China
    Yujing Liu, Renchuan Hu, Songsong Shen, Zheng Zhang, Jing Zhang, Xiaoling Song, Sheng Qiang
    2020, 42(06):  464-472.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2020.12.002
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    Herbal teas composed of locally occurring plant species have long been used as the primary form of health care in Qingtian County, Zhejiang Province, China. However, large-scale emigration overseas and an aging population threaten the conservation of traditional knowledge of these herbal teas. Traditional knowledge about the plants used for these herbal teas is not well documented in Qingtian, despite their widespread use. The aim of this study was to assess the plant-cultural diversity of plants used as herbal teas, and to point out the prospective value of herbal teas used by Qingtian people. This study was conducted using semi-structured interviews, as well as field and market surveys. Forty-three local informants were interviewed. We recorded plant resources, plant parts used, local names, and medicinal uses. Quantitative ethnobotanical indices, including cognitive salience (CS), frequency of citation (FC), index of informant consensus (Fic) and use value (UV), were calculated to analyze the level of representativeness and relative importance of plants used in herbal teas. One hundred and twenty-nine species belonging to 75 families and 113 genera were reported to be used in herbal tea, with Compositae being the richest family. Whole plants are most commonly used to make herbal teas (66.7%). In this study, informants reported that 92.2% of plant species used in herbal teas are wild. The most utilized herbal preparation form is dry/fresh. Informants reported that herbal teas are used to treat 31 ailments. Our results show that the highest representativeness, based on CS and FC, was recorded for species Actinidia eriantha. Based on UV, the top five most used species are Goodyera schlechtendaliana, Plantago asiatica, Prunella vulgaris, Lophatherum gracile and Leonurus japonicus. The highest Fic was cited for dental medicine. This study helps document the status of current herbal teas in Qingtian. The use value and traditional knowledge of herbal teas have provided basic data for further research focused on bioactivity studies and sustainable utilization of the most important species.
    Skincare plants of the Naxi of NW Yunnan, China
    Yanqiang Zhao, Zexing Yang, Bayi Lang, Manfred Shao, Wu Meng, Dayuan Xue, Lu Gao, Lixin Yang
    2020, 42(06):  473-478.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2020.12.005
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    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.
    Short communication
    Traditional knowledge, use and conservation of plants by the communities of Tharaka-Nithi County, Kenya
    Vivian Kathambi, Fredrick Munyao Mutie, Peninah Cheptoo Rono, Neng Wei, Jacinta Ndunge Munyao, Peris Kamau, Robert Wahiti Gituru, Guang-Wan Hu, Qing-Feng Wang
    2020, 42(06):  479-487.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2020.12.004
    Abstract ( 18 )   HTML ( )   PDF (2597KB) ( 9 )   Save
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    Rural communities in Kenya largely depend on plant resources for their livelihood. The utilization of these resources depends on the availability of plant resources and the level of knowledge of the residents. We conducted an ethnobotanical study in Tharaka-Nithi County in Kenya to determine the knowledge and utilization of various plant species by the local communities. The study was conducted in four major administrative regions from June 2018 to February 2019, involving interview schedules using semi-structured open-ended questionnaires and guided field collections with 48 informants. A total of 214 plant species distributed in 73 families and 169 genera with 616 Use Reports (URs) were documented. Fabaceae was the highest family cited by the informants (31 species) followed by Lamiaceae and Euphorbiaceae (each with 11 species). Trees (49%) and shrubs (32%) were the top life forms of the plants frequently utilized by the local residents. The general plant uses reported were medicinal, food, fodder, construction, fuel, pesticidal, religious, live fencing, and making crafts. Zanthoxylum gilletii, Prunus africana, and Solanum incanum were found to be highly valued by the local communities. Plant utilization as food and medicinal uses against snake-bite related problems had the highest Informant Consensus Factor (ICF). Only 29 (13.6%) of the species reported had their status assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Conservation measures, alongside awareness creation in this region, are highly recommended for the species endemic to the region, highly depended on by the community, and those threatened according to IUCN standards.
    Selecting flagship species to solve a biodiversity conservation conundrum
    Jie Qian, Huifu Zhuang, Weikang Yang, Yifeng Chen, Shilong Chen, Yanhua Qu, Yuanming Zhang, Yongping Yang, Yuhua Wang
    2020, 42(06):  488-491.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2021.01.004
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    The difficulty of effectively monitoring and managing the environment to conserve biodiversity is as yet an unsolved conundrum. A project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has concluded that progress can be made through the use of flagship species selected using criteria drawn from conservation biology, ecosystem function, socio-economics, and cultural importance. Inclusion of the latter three criteria will help attract and maintain the commitment of the public to play full parts in carrying out any conservation measures needed. A system is proposed for scoring species to select those that are most suitable as flagships. This method can be used regardless of the size of the area chosen for attention, whether it is a region, a country, or a particular protected area.