Tag Archives: conservation

Traditional Knowledge of Wild Edibles Used by the Naxi in Baidi Village, Yunnan Province

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Traditional knowledge and its transmission of wild edibles used by the Naxi in Baidi Village, northwest Yunnan province

Geng Y, Zhang Y, Ranjitkar S, Huai H, Wang Y
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2016 Feb 5;12(1):10
PubMed PMID: 26846564
Yunnan Province
Yunnan Province (Source: TUBS, Wikimedia Commons)

Investigators from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, World Agroforestry Centre, and Yangzhou University conducted a detailed investigation of wild edibles used by the Naxi (Nakhi, 纳西族) people in Baidi village of Yunnan Province and evaluate them to identify innovative organic food products.

The team recorded 173 wild edible plant species, including Cardamine macrophylla, Cardamine tangutorum and Eutrema yunnanense, traditionally consumed as important supplements to the diet, particularly during food shortages.

From the background:

“The Naxi people, one of the main ethnic groups in northwest Yunnan, have accumulated rich knowledge on using wild edibles. Baidi Village (Sanba Naxi Nationality Township, Shangri-La City, Deqing Prefecture) is located in … the Northwest of Yunnan Province, roughly between the two cities Lijiang and Diqing…. The mountain in its territory belongs to Haba Snow Mountain, Yunling Mountain range. Baidi … reaches an elevation of approximately 4500 m while networks of streams and rivers including Geji and Yangtze dissect numerous valleys, which make it encompass a rich diversity of plants. The village has 15 sections or groups of the settlement, eight of which belong to the Naxi. In the northwest of the village, there is a big limestone terrace, Baishuitai (literal meaning white water terrace). Local people believe this place as a shrine and perform various religious activities. It also is a famous scenic spot that attracts the considerable number of tourists all over the world.”

Hypericum forrestii
Hypericum forrestii (Source: Prashanthns, Wikimedia Commons)

The article details the diversity of wild edibles used by the Naxi (including wild vegetables, wild fruits, teas, and one honey source, Hypericum forrestii) and the traditional wisdom of the Naxi regarding the use of these plants. In their conclusion, the authors propose sustainable investigation of nutritional value and market opportunities, while promoting conservation of traditional knowledge:

“The traditional food knowledge of the Naxi in Baidi is dynamic, affected by social factors and communicated with the outsiders’ food knowledge. Overall, this study provides a deeper understanding of the Naxi traditional knowledge on wild edibles. The study suggests some wild edibles might have an interesting dietary constituent, which necessitates further investigation on the nutrition value as well as market opportunities. With scientific evidence on nutrition value and market opportunity, more people will be attracted toward the wild edibles that will help in addressing food security issues along with conservation of traditional knowledge of the aboriginal population.”

Read the complete article at PubMed.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.




Ethnomedicinal Knowledge of the Indigenous People of Malda District, West Bengal

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Indigenous knowledge of plants in local healthcare management practices by tribal people of Malda district, India

Saha MR, Sarker DD, Kar P, Gupta PS, Sen A
J Intercult Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Oct-Dec;3(4):179-85
PubMed Central PMC4576813

Malda District, West Bengal, India
Malda District, West Bengal, India [Source: GDibyendu, Wikimedia Commons]
Investigators from the University of North Bengal conducted an ethnobotanical study aimed at exploring the indigenous knowledge of native tribes on the utilization of wild plant species for local healthcare management in Malda district of West Bengal.

From the Introduction:

“The region is covered with plentiful natural vegetation, which makes it verdant. River beds, ponds, marshy land etc. are good habitats for the wetland undergrowth. Most of the remote villages are covered by jungles, which consist chiefly of thorny scrub bush and large trees showing wide distribution of flora. The soil of the western region of the district is particularly suited to the growth of mulberry and mango, for which Malda has become famous. Various ethnic communities, including Santala, Rajbanshi, Namasudre, Polia, Oraon, Mundas, Malpaharias etc. are the inhabitants of this region. Of these Santala, Oraon is different from others due to their unique culture and tradition. They are quite popular to treat several types of local ailments of human and veterinary purposes.”

Consulting with traditional healers and practitioners, the team documented 53 medicinal plants frequently used to treat 44 types of ailments.

Andrographis paniculata
Andrographis paniculata [Source: J.M. Garg, Wikimedia Commons]
Predominant among the most important medicinal plants used in the treatment of several diseases are Andrographis paniculata, Amaranthus spinosus, Alstonia scholaris, Cuscuta reflexa, Jatropha gossypiifolia, Caesalpinia crista, Tamarindus indica and Sida rhombifolia.

Azoospermia was the most commonly treated disease, followed by different types of pains, ankle sprain, diabetes, dysentery, inflammation, menstrual disorder, rheumatism, skin disorders and leucorrhea.

This first study of ethnomedicinal knowledge of the ethnic people of Malda district could be a crucial first step toward the conservation of cultural traditions and biodiversity in the region:

“Now-a-days the traditional knowledge is in the way of erosion due to environmental degradation, deforestation, agricultural expansion and population pressure. Traditional knowledge of medicinal plants and their use by indigenous cultures are not only useful for conservation of cultural traditions and biodiversity but also for community healthcare and drug development at present and in the future. Therefore, recording of indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants is an urgent task.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Ethnomedicines of region surrounding Ayubia National Park, Himalayan Pakistan

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Ethnomedicines of highly utilized plants in the temperate Himalayan region

Begum S, AbdEIslam NM, Adnan M, Tariq A, Yasmin A, Hameed R
Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2014 Apr 3;11(3):132-42
PubMed Central PMC4202431

Researchers from Fatima Jinnah Women University, Arriyadh Community College of King Saud University and Kohat University of Science and Technology conducted a study of indigenous knowledge of highly utilized medicinal plants in in Nathiagali and adjoining villages surrounding Ayubia National Park, a temperate Himalayan forest region of northwestern Pakistan.

Bergenia ciliata
Bergenia ciliata [Source: Magnus Manske, Wikimedia Commons]
The team documented 43 medicinal plants used as antipyretics, for gastrointestinal disorders and for other ethnomedicinal purposes. Among the most valuable species from the perspective of the local population are Bergenia ciliata, Hedera nepalensis and Viola canescens.

In their conclusion, the authors note that the older people of the region, particularly the women, have much ethnomedicinal knowledge that has been transferred from their parents, but that the younger generation is totally ignorant about this traditional knowledge and that the plants themselves are under severe threat from overexploitation, improper collection, grazing and deforestation. They recommend training to help the medicinal plant collectors avoid losses and reforestation in the region as a way forward for the recovery of medicinal plants as well as cultivation trials under an agroforestry system.

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Traditional Livelihoods, Conservation & Meadow Ecology in Jiuzhaigou National Park

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Traditional Livelihoods, Conservation and Meadow Ecology in Jiuzhaigou National Park, Sichuan, China

Urgenson L, Schmidt AH, Combs J, Harrell S, Hinckley T, Yang Q, Ma Z, Yongxian L, Hongliang L, MacIver A
Hum Ecol. 2014 Jun;42(3):481-491
PubMed Central PMC4474163

Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park, Sichuan, China, Wǔhuā Hǎi rize valley 日则沟
Wǔhuā Hǎi Rize Valley 日则沟, Jiuzhaigou National Park, Sichuan, China [Source: Wikimedia Commons, chensiyuan]
Investigators from the University of Washington, Oberlin College, Jiuzhaigou National Park, Aarhus University, Sichuan University and University of Chicago employed archaeological excavation, ethnographic interviews, remote sensing and vegetation surveys to examine the implications of two national reforestation programs to increase forest cover and exclude local land use in this UNESCO World Heritage Site and Man and Biosphere Reserve.

From the Introduction:

“Despite international recognition that biodiversity conservation should respect and account for indigenous cultures, the role of human land-uses in preserving ecosystems is a subject of debate, with practical implications for management of protected areas. On one side, land-use is viewed as outside the natural range of variability and thus detrimental to biodiversity conservation. On the other side, landscapes are portrayed as products of human-environment interactions and human disturbance as potentially beneficial to biodiversity. In reality, the extent to which land-use either aids or inhibits conservation depends on the nature and extent of human activities and their historic role in shaping the distributions of species and habitats. Understanding these linkages allows us to evaluate conservation practices critically and to formulate management policies that support biological diversity and local cultures.”

On the basis of archaeological excavations, ethnographic interviews, remote sensing and vegetation surveys, the team found that the landscape of Jiuzhaigou National Park is the product of more than 2,000 years of human-ecosystem interactions that may have enriched biodiversity and ecosystem services through the creation of meadow patches in a landscape dominated by forests. In their conclusion, the authors propose that governments and NGOs rethink conservation that demands removal of human land-use in order to return the land to a “natural” state:

“The results of this interdisciplinary study suggest that long-term human land-use, including traditional-scale agriculture and pastoralism, created and maintained montane meadows in [Jiuzhaigou National Park]. The cessation of human land-use and intentional planting of trees have resulted in substantial loss of meadows with potentially profound implications for the Park’s conservation aims. Continued loss of these meadow habitats may result in changes in ecological systems, with lower diversity, fewer ecosystem services, and loss of cultural meaning and traditional knowledge over time.

Our findings from Jiuzhaigou have more general application for conservation practice. The inhabitants of Jiuzhaigou, as in many other areas, have lived as part of the cultural landscape over millennia, and in doing so have significantly shaped the patterns of biodiversity that we see on the landscape. This leads us to rethink conservation that demands removal of human land-use in order to return it to a “natural” state. Our findings are relevant to conservation in protected areas where there is an interest in maintaining existing ecological and cultural structures.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.