Comparative homegarden medical ethnobotany of Naxi healers and farmers in Northwestern Yunnan, China

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Title:
Comparative homegarden medical ethnobotany of Naxi healers and farmers in Northwestern Yunnan, China
Series Title:
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
Physical Description:
Mixed Material
Creator:
Lixin Yang
Selena Ahmed
John Richard Stepp
Kai Mi
Yanqiang Zhao
Junzeng Ma
Chen Liang
Shengji Pei
Huyin Huai
Gang Xu
Alan C Hamilton
Zhi-wei Yang
Dayuan Xue
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Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
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Abstract:
Background: Homegardens are ecologically and culturally important systems for cultivating medicinal plants for wellbeing by healers and farmers in Naxi communities of the Sino Himalayan region. The cultivation of medicinal plants in Naxi communities and associated ethnomedical knowledge base for maintaining and utilizing these resources is at risk with expanded commercialization of natural resources, development policies and rapid socio-economic change in China. Research is needed to understand the medicinal plant species maintained in Naxi homegardens, their use and contribution to community wellbeing, and how these practices and knowledge base varies between Naxi healers and farmers in order to develop plans for biodiversity conservation and preservation of ethnomedical practices. The main objective of this study is to document and compare medicinal plant species in Naxi homegardens and associated ethnomedical knowledge between Naxi healers and farmers. Methods: Ethnobotanical homegarden surveys were conducted with three Naxi healers and 28 farmer households in two Naxi communities in Lijiang Prefecture in Northwest Yunnan Province of China. Surveys included inventories of medicinal plants in homegardens and semi-structured interviews with homegarden managers to document traditional medicinal uses of inventoried plants. Inventoried plants were classified into 13 ‘usage categories’ of medical condition groupings that impact a system of the body. Finally, plant species richness was calculated for each homegarden and species richness was compared between healers and farmers as well as between study sites using a Least Square Means Tukey HSD function. Results: Ethnobotanical surveys at the study sites found that 13% of households rely exclusively on traditional Naxi medicine, 26% exclusively use Western medicine and 61% use a combination of traditional Naxi and Western medicine. A total of 106 medicinal plants were inventoried in Naxi homegardens representing 50 botanical families. Over 85% of inventoried medicinal plants were herbaceous. The most represented families were Asteraceae (12.8%), Ranunculaceae (8.3%), Apiaceae (8.3%), and Polygonaceae (7.3%). The primary medical functions of inventoried plants were to treat inflammation (73 species), circulatory system disorders (62), nervous system disorders (41), detoxification (39), digestive system disorders (33), muscular-skeletal system disorders (26), genitourinary system disorders (26), skin conditions (23), respiratory systems disorders (22), and cold and flu (20). Local herbal experts maintained greater medicinal plant species richness in their homegardens compared to local farmers as well as had greater knowledge of medicinal functions of plants. Healers maintained medicinal plants primarily for healing while farmer households maintained approximately 90% of the medicinal plants in their homegardens for commercialization and the remaining for household healthcare. Conclusions: This study highlights the importance of biodiversity and traditional ecological and medical knowledge for human wellbeing and livelihoods in Naxi communities. Conservation efforts and policies are necessary to preserve the ecological and cultural base that maintains medicinal plant use by both healers and farmers in Naxi homegardens of the Sino Himalayan region.

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Comparativehomegardenmedicalethnobotany ofNaxihealersandfarmersinNorthwestern Yunnan,China Yang etal. JOURNAL OF ETHNOBIOLOGY AND ETHNOMEDICINE Yang etal.JournalofEthnobiologyandEthnomedicine 2014, 10 :6 http://www.ethnobiomed.com/content/10/1/6

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RESEARCHOpenAccessComparativehomegardenmedicalethnobotany ofNaxihealersandfarmersinNorthwestern Yunnan,ChinaLixinYang1,2,SelenaAhmed1,3,JohnRichardStepp1,4*,KaiMi1,YanqiangZhao5,JunzengMa6,ChenLiang1, ShengjiPei2,HuyinHuai7,GangXu2,AlanCHamilton8,Zhi-weiYang2andDayuanXue1*AbstractBackground: Homegardensareecologicallyandculturallyimport antsystemsforcultivatingmedicinalplantsfor wellbeingbyhealersandfarmersinNaxicommunitiesoftheS inoHimalayanregion.Thecultivationofmedicinalplants inNaxicommunitiesandassociatedethnomedicalknowledge baseformaintainingandutilizingtheseresourcesisat riskwithexpandedcommercializationofnaturalresources ,developmentpoliciesandrapidsocio-economicchangein China.ResearchisneededtounderstandthemedicinalplantspeciesmaintainedinNaxihomegardens,theiruseand contributiontocommunitywellbeing,andhowthesepract icesandknowledgebasevariesbetweenNaxihealersand farmersinordertodevelopplansforbiodiversityconserv ationandpreservationofethnomedicalpractices.Themain objectiveofthisstudyistodocumentandcomparemedici nalplantspeciesinNaxihomegardensandassociated ethnomedicalknowledgebetweenNaxihealersandfarmers. Methods: Ethnobotanicalhomegardensurveyswereconducte dwiththreeNaxihealersand28farmerhouseholds intwoNaxicommunitiesinLijiangPrefectureinNorthwestY unnanProvinceofChina.Surveysincludedinventories ofmedicinalplantsinhomegardens andsemi-structuredinterviewswi thhomegardenmanagerstodocument traditionalmedicinalusesofinventoriedplant s.Inventoriedplantswereclassifiedinto13 ‘ usagecategories ’ of medicalconditiongroupingsthatimpactasystemofthebo dy.Finally,plantspeciesrichnesswascalculatedfor eachhomegardenandspeciesrichnesswascomparedbe tweenhealersandfarmersaswellasbetweenstudy sitesusingaLeastSquareMeansTukeyHSDfunction.(Continuedonnextpage) *Correspondence: stepp@ufl.edu ; xuedayuan@hotmail.com1CollegeofLifeandEnvironmentalScience,MinzuUniversityofChina, 27Zhong-Guan-CunSouthAvenue,Beijing100086,China4DepartmentofAnthropology,EthnobiologyLaboratory,Universityof Florida,P.O.Box117305,Gainesville,FL32611-7305,USA Fulllistofauthorinformationisavailableattheendofthearticle JOURNAL OF ETHNOBIOLOGY AND ETHNOMEDICINE 2014Yangetal.;licenseeBioMedCentralLtd.ThisisanopenaccessarticledistributedunderthetermsoftheCreative CommonsAttributionLicense(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0),whichpermitsunrestricteduse,distribution,and reproductioninanymedium,providedtheoriginalworkisproperlycited.Yang etal.JournalofEthnobiologyandEthnomedicine 2014, 10 :6 http://www.ethnobiomed.com/content/10/1/6

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(Continuedfrompreviouspage)Results: Ethnobotanicalsurveysatthestudysitesfoundthat13%ofhouseholdsrelyexclusivelyontraditionalNaxi medicine,26%exclusivelyuseWesternmedicineand61%useacombinationoftraditionalNaxiandWesternmedicine. Atotalof106medicinalplantswereinventoriedinNaxihomegardensrepresenting50botanicalfamilies.Over85%of inventoriedmedicinalplantswereherbaceous.ThemostrepresentedfamilieswereAsteraceae(12.8%),Ranunculaceae (8.3%),Apiaceae(8.3%),andPolygonaceae(7.3%).Theprimarymedicalfunctionsofinventoriedplantsweretotreat inflammation(73species),circulatorysystemdisorders(62),nervoussystemdisorders(41),detoxification(39),digestive systemdisorders(33),muscular-skeletalsystemdisorders(26),genitourinarysystemdisorders(26),skinconditions(23), respiratorysystemsdisorders(22),andcoldandflu(20).Localherbalexpertsmaintainedgreatermedicinalplantspecies richnessintheirhomegardenscomparedtolocalfarmersaswellashadgreaterknowledgeofmedicinalfunctionsof plants.Healersmaintainedmedicinalplantsprimarilyforhealingwhilefarmerhouseholdsmaintainedapproximately 90%ofthemedicinalplantsintheirhomegardensforcommercializationandtheremainingforhouseholdhealthcare. Conclusions: Thisstudyhighlightstheimportanceofbiodiversity andtraditionalecological andmedicalknowledgefor humanwellbeingandlivelihoodsinNaxicommunities.Conservationeffortsandpoliciesarenecessarytopreservethe ecologicalandculturalbasethatmaintainsmedicinalplantusebybothhealersandfarmersinNaxihomegardensofthe SinoHimalayanregion. Keywords: Homegardens,Medicinalplants,Naxi,Ethnomedicine,HealersBackgroundCommunitiesworldwidemanagemedicinalplantsinhomegardenstosupportwellbeingandlivelihoods[1-10].Studies thatindicatetherelianceofcommunitiesonplantsgrowing indisturbedandanthropogenicspaces,coupledwithstudies showinghigherusevaluesforcultivatedfoodandmedicinal plantscomparedtowildplants,emphasizetheimportance ofinvestigatinghomegardensintheprovisionofmedicinal plantremedies[11-17].Anthr opogenicenvironmentssuch ashomegardensareaccessibles ystemsforcommunitiesto manage,utilizeandtransmitecologicalandethnomedical knowledgetosupporthouseholdwellbeing[18-25]. TheethnomedicalsystemsofChina ’ snumeroussociolinguisticgroupsplayacrucialroleforcommunityhealthin thecountry ’ sindigenousareas,manyofwhicharelocatedin habitatsofhighbiodiversity.China ’ s55minoritysociolinguisticgroupsarerecogni zedtoutilizemorespeciesof medicinalplantscomparedtot heTraditionalChineseMedicine(TCM)systemofthedomi nantHanpopulation[26]. Therehavebeenapproximately7,000-8,000documented speciesfoundintheethnobotanicalliteratureofChina ’ s minoritycommunitiesand4,758speciesinTCM[26]. Thegatheringofmedicinalpla ntsalsoprovidesanimportant livelihoodactivityformanyindigenouscommunitiesinChina. China ’ sNorthwestYunnanProvinceisrecognizedfor itsrichbiodiversityandculturalhistoryassociatedwith themanagementandutilizationofmedicinalplants.NW YunnanislocatedintheThreeParallelRiversregionand islistedasaWorldNaturalandCulturalHeritageSiteby UNESCO,makingitglobalprioritysiteforbiodiversity conservation.Theregion ’ sexceptionalaltitudinalrange, topographyandclimaticvariabilityhavefosteredcenters ofplantspeciesendemism[27,28].NWYunnanharbors over3,500endemicplantspecies,manyofwhichareutilizedbylocalcommunitiesincludingtheNaxi[29,30]. TheNaxiareaBurmo-Naxi-LolosociolinguisticsubgroupoftheTibeto-BurmangroupwithintheSinoTibetanfamily[31].Theyprimarilyinhabitthehighlands ofLijiangNaxiAutonomousRegionintheeastern HimalayaofChina ’ sNorthwestYunnanProvincewitha populationofapproximately300,000(Figure1).Historically,theNaxireliedonanindigenoussystemofBon practicetotreathealthconditionsprimarilythrough consultationwithlocalshamanpriestsknownasDongba (Dto ’ mba)aswellasthroughherbalhealersandself-care [32,33].ThetraditionalBonpracticeisfoundedonanimist andshamanistictraditionswithlinkstopre-Buddhistand BuddhistTibetanpracticeandmanyofthesetraditionsremainthroughtheworld'sonlyremainingpictographic writingsystem(Figure2). TheNaxi,likemanyindigenousgroupsinYunnan, China,havealonghistoryandtraditionalknowledgeof growingfoodandmedicinalplantsingardensadjacent totheirhomestosupporttheirlivelihoods[34-37].Previousresearchhasfoundthatover60%ofNaxifarmers inLudianTownshipofNWYunnancultivatemedicinal plantsforhouseholdandcommercialuse[38].Inaddition, approximately30%ofallmedicinalplantsusedinNaxi medicinebytraditionalhealersarefromhomegardens, 60%fromwildhabitats,and10%fromotherlocalities[39]. Thisstudybuildsonpreviousethnobotanicalworkbyfocusingonplantspeciesandtheirmedicinalfunctions foundinNaxihomegardensinChina ’ sNorthwestYunnan Province.ThepresentstudycompareshomegardensmanagedbyNaxihealersandfarmerstounderstandvariation betweenmedicinalpractitionerexpertsandcommonYang etal.JournalofEthnobiologyandEthnomedicine 2014, 10 :6Page2of8 http://www.ethnobiomed.com/content/10/1/6

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households.Thisstudyprovidesausefulbaselinefor futurestudyonmedicinalplantspeciesrichness,usage andnaturalproductdiscoveryintheSino-Himalayan region. Methods Studysites ResearchwasconductedinLudianTownshipofYulong CountyofLijiangCityinChina ’ sNorthwestYunannProvince,anareaidentifiedbytheYunnanProvincialScientific andTechnologicalDepartmentasthe “ homeofmedicinal plants ” inprovincialhistoryandtradition.Twostudysites communitieswereselectedforthisstudy:Diannan( translatesto “ grassymarshlandinthesouth ” ;Northern latitude2712 52 andEasternlatitude9928 57 ),and Dianbei( translatesto “ grassymarshlandinthe north ” ;Northernlatitude2711 26 andEasternlatitude 9927 34 ).Studysiteswereselectedafterconsulting localgovernmentofficialsandpreliminaryfieldvisitsto identifyvillageswheretraditionalethnomedicalpractice andknowledgeseemedmostintactaswellasareasthat housedpracticingtraditionalhealers.Dianbeivillagehad onehealeratthetimeofresearchandDiannanvillage hadtwohealersatthetimeofresearch. Thestudysitesaresituated withintheHengduanMountainsattheeasternendoftheHimalayas,southeastofthe TibetanPlateauandmidstreamoftheJinshaRiver.Lijiang hastheclimateoftheHengduanMountainvalleyaswellas thatofNorthwestYunnanPlateau.Ithashighterrainin thenorthwestandlowterraininthesoutheastslopingfrom 5,596mdownto1,015m.Thiselevationalrangeisaccompaniedbyvariationinclimate,habitats,soils,andecotypes thatprovidesdiverseconditionsformedicinalplants. ThecommunityofDianbeihas103householdswitha populationof318andthecommunityofDiannanhas 140householdswithapopulationof586.Bothvillages settlementsarelocatedatanaltitudebetween2,400m2,600m.Thedistancebetweenthetwostudysitesis 6.5km.Twelvepercentofthetotalareaisunderagriculturaluse)withforest,scrubandpasturecompromising theremaininglanduse.Householdsfollowsubsistence livelihoodrelyingonamosaicoflanduseintheirsurroundingscoupledwiththecommercializationofnatural resourcesandoff-farmlabor. Figure2 Dongbascrollcontainingtheworld'slastremaining pictographicwritingsystem. (PhotobyJ.R.Stepp). Figure1 MapofNorthwestYunnan,China. Yang etal.JournalofEthnobiologyandEthnomedicine 2014, 10 :6Page3of8 http://www.ethnobiomed.com/content/10/1/6

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EthnobotanicalsurveysInterviewswereconductedwithatotalofthreehealers and28farmerhouseholds.Weinterviewedonehealerin DianbeivillageandtwohealersinDiannanvillage. Inaddition,weinterviewed11farmerhouseholdsin Dianbeivillageand16farmerhouseholdsinDiannan village.Weselectedtointerviewtheprimaryperson managingeachhomegardenandresponsibleforcollectingmedicinalplantswhenahouseholdmembergetsill. Allinformantswereover40yearsoldwithanaverage ageof52years.Tenoftheinformantswerefemaleand theremaining21informantsweremale. Semi-structuredinterviewsincludeddocumentationof localnames,plantparts,preparationmethods,modeof administration,healthfunctionsofmedicinalplants foundinhomegardensandpercentageofhouseholdincomederivedfromthesaleofmedicinalplantsinfarmingland.Voucherspecimenswerecollectedunderthe guidanceoflocalherbalexpertsandpressedanddried inthefield.Taxonomicplantidentificationwasconfirmed atKunmingInstituteofBotany,ChineseAcademyof ScienceandspecimensweredepositedatKIBforlongtermstorage.MedicinalclassificationofplantuseWefollowedthemedicalclassificationdevelopedbyCook [40]tocategorizealimentswellknownbyherbalexpertsinto 13  usagecategories ’ ofmedicalconditiongroupingsthatimpactasystemofthebody[41].Thecategoriesofmedical conditionsappliedinclude:injuries(INJ),muscular-skeletal systemdisorders(MUS),infecti ons/infestations(INF2),digestivesystemdisorders(DIG), skin-subcutaneouscellular tissuedisorders(SKI),pregnanc y/birth/puerperiumdisorders (PRE),sensorysystemdisorders(SEN),nutritionaldisorders (NUT),nervoussystemdisorders(NER),genitourinarysystemdisorders/effects(GEN), respiratorysystemdisorders (RES)andcirculatorysystemdisorders(CIR).Fourusage categorieswereaddedtothisstudythatrepresentCultureBoundSyndrome(CUL)includingchildrenfebrileconvulsion,Ill-definedSymptoms(IDS)includingkidneyconditions andfatigue/malaise,inflammation(INF1)anddetoxification (DET)asdefinedinTraditionalChineseMedicine(TCM) andfolkmedicinesystemsofChina.SpeciesrichnessandcomparativeethnobotanyPlantspeciesrichnessofmedicinalplantsineachhomegardenwasdeterminedusingHulbert ’ sindex(1972).A LeastSquareMeansTukeyHSDfunctionwasperformed usingJMP10.0(SASInstituteInc.)todeterminehow medicinalplantspeciesrichnessofNaxihomegardens varieswithbetweenspecialisthealerandgeneralist farmerstakeholdersaswellasbetweenthetwostudy sites.ResultsEthnobotanicalsurveysEthnobotanicalsurveysatthestudysitesfoundthat13% ofinformantsrelyexclusivelyontraditionalNaximedicine,26%exclusivelyuseWesternmedicineavailablefrom thelocalclinicand61%useacombinationoftraditional NaxiandWesternmedicine.Inventoriesadocumenteda totalof106medicinalplantsfrom50botanicalfamilies usedtotreatover160healthconditions.Additionalfile1: TableS1listsethnobotanicalinformationforeachspecies includingscientificname,localnames,genera,habitat, plantpartsused,descriptionofusesandpercentofinformantswhoprovidedtheinformation. Findingsindicatethatoverhalf(58.7%)ofdocumented plantsbelongto10botanicalfamilies.ThemostrepresentedfamiliesinthemedicinalplanthomegardeninventoriesincludeAsteraceae(14species),Ranunculaceae(9), Apiaceae(9),Polygonaceae(8),Labiatae(5),Orchidaceae (4),Liliaceae(4),Rosaceae(4),Campanulaceae(4)and Saxifragaceae(3).ThemajorityofthedocumentedmedicinalplantsinNaxihomegardensareherbaceousspecies (87.2%),followedbywoodytrees(7.3%),shrubs(2.8%), andlianas(1.8%).Roots(45%)werethemostfrequently usedplantspartsformedicineaccountingfor63prescriptions,followedbythewholeplant(33.9%),combinations ofrootsandstem(12.8%),fruits(3.7%)andbark(2.8%). Flowers,leaves,sap,andbranchesaccountedforthe remainingminorpercentagesofplantparts.Table1shows themostfrequentlyinventoriedmedicinalplantsatthe studysites.Inadditiontomedicinalvalue,mostofthese plantsarealsovaluedfortheireconomic,edibleandornamentalvalues. Findingsshowthatthevastmajorityofinventoried medicinalplantsareusedintreatmentincombination withotherplantsandafewareusedassingleplantremedies.Thepreparationsofplantsformedicinaltreatment includeprimarilydecoctioninwaterforinternalconsumption.Afewpreparationsalsoinvolveinfusionwith alcoholandhoneyasatonic.Someremediesinclude preparationandconsumptionofmedicinalplantswith fooditemssuchaswithmeat,egg,rice,andhoneyto “ strengthenthebody ” .Someoftheremediesareused externallyaspoultices. Farmerscultivatemedicinalplantsintheirhomegardens forhouseholdhealthcareaswellasforcommercialpurposes whilehealersonlycultivatemedicinalplantsintheirhomegardensforhealingpurposesandrarelysellspecies.Approximately10%ofmedicinalplantsgrownbyfarmersare usedforself-careand90%aresoldinherbalmarketstogeneratehouseholdincome.Far mersdonotprovideplantmaterialtohealersinthecommunity.Table2showsthemost commonlycommercializedmedicinalplantsgrownin homegardensofDiannanandDianbeivillages.Fourteen commercializedmedicinalplant speciesintheseedlingstageYang etal.JournalofEthnobiologyandEthnomedicine 2014, 10 :6Page4of8 http://www.ethnobiomed.com/content/10/1/6

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werecultivatedinthehomegardensofoverhalfthehouseholdsatthestudysites.Over80%ofhouseholdsatthestudy sitesderivetheirincomefromthecommercializationofmedicinalplants.Householdsderiveanaverageof45%oftheir incomefromthecommercializationofmedicinalplants.In additionaltomedicinalvalues,manyofthesespeciesalso haveedible,ornamentalandeconomicvaluesforNaxicommunitiesaswellareconsideredtoserveanecologicalrole.MedicinalclassificationofplantuseCompiledfindingsfrombothstudysitesshowthatthe mostfrequentlyreportedhealthconditionstreatedbythe inventoriedmedicinalplantsareinflammation(73),circulatorysystemdisorders(62),nervoussystemdisorders (41),detoxification(39),digestivesystemdisorders(33), muscular-skeletalsystemdisorders(26),genitourinary systemdisorders(26),skinconditions(23),respiratory systemsdisorders(22),andcoldandflu(20).Themost frequentlyreportedhealth conditionstreatedbytheinventoriedmedicinalplantsbyhealersinDianbeivillage arecoldandflu,rheumatism,digestivesystemdisorders,genitourinarysystemdi sorders,pain,circulatory systemdisorders,muscular-skeletalsystemdisorders, skinconditions,nervoussystemdisorders,andinflammation.Themostfrequentlyreco rdedhealthconditionsfor medicinalplantusebyfarmersinDianbeivillagearecirculatorysystemdisorders,respiratorysystemdisorders,colds andflu,nutritionaldisorders,andinflammation.In Diannanvillage,themostfrequentlyreportedhealth Table2CommercializedmedicinalplantspeciesSpeciesnameMarketpriceRMB/KgPlantpart traded Dryorfresh planttraded Degreeof commercialization Aucklandialappa Dencne16RootDriedMedium Gastrodiaelata Bl.400RootDriedMedium Gentianarobusta KingexHook.F16RootDriedHigh Platycodongrandiflorum (Jacq.)A.DC.30RootDriedHigh Ligusticumsinense cv.ChuanhsiungShanexk.C.Fu18RootDriedHigh Rheumpalmatum L8RootDriedLow Notopterygiumfranchetii Boiss24RootDriedLow Dipsacusmitis D.Don7RootDriedMedium Atractylodismacrocephalae Koidz.16RootDriedMedium ParispolyphyllaSmithvaryunnanensis (Fr.) Hand.-Mazz. 200RootDriedHigh Cynanchumotophyllum Schneid.400RootDriedMedium Aconitumcarmichaeli Debx.8RootFreshLow Bletillasinensis (Rolf)Schltr.28RootDriedLow Ligusticumchuanxiong S.H.Qiu14RootDriedMediumOverhalfthestudysitehouseholdswerefoundtomaintainfourteencommercializedspecies. Table1MostfrequentlyinventoriedmedicinalplantsSpeciesnameMedicinal vale Edible value Economic value Ornamental value Aconitumcarmichaeli Debx. Aucklandialappa Decne. Chaenomelessinensis (Thunb.)Makino Fallopiamultiflora (Thunb.)Harald. Foeniculumvulgare Mill. Gentianarobusta King exHook.f. Lactucasativa L. Ligusticumchuanxiong S.H.Qiu Menthaspicata L. Paeoniadelavayi Franch. var.Lutea(Delav.Ex Franch.)Finet.Et Gagnep. Parispolyphylla Smith varyunnanensis Platycodongrandiflorus (Jacq.)A.DC. Prinsepiautilis Role Zanthoxylumbungenum Maxim Themostfrequentlyinventoriedmedicinalplantsatthestudysitesarealso valuedforvariousotherpropertiesbyhouseholdsincludingedible,economic, andornamental.Yang etal.JournalofEthnobiologyandEthnomedicine 2014, 10 :6Page5of8 http://www.ethnobiomed.com/content/10/1/6

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conditionstreatedbyinventoriedmedicinalplantsby healersinDiannanvillageareinflammation,coldand flu,respiratorysystemdisorders,genitourinarysystem disorders,digestivesystemsdisorders,detoxification, muscular-skeletalsystemdisorders,injuries,andskin conditions.Themostfrequentlymentionedhealth conditionstreatedbytheinventoriedmedicinalplants byfarmerhouseholdsinDiannanaredigestivesystem disorders,nutritionaldisorders,coldandflu,inflammationandcirculatorysystemdisorders.PlantspeciesrichnessandcomparativeethnobotanySpeciesrichnessofmedicinalplantsinthehomegardens ofhealerswasfoundtobesignificantlyhigherthanthat offarmersatthetwostudysites(p>0.048).LeastSquare Meansofmedicinalplantspeciesrichnessmaintainedby healerswas0.347andthatoffarmerswas0.161.Nosignificantdifferencewasfoundinoverallspeciesrichness ofmedicinalplantsinthehomegardensofthetwostudy siteswithoverallmedicinalplantspeciesrichnessin DiannanvillagehavingaLeastSquareMeansof0.284 andDianbeihavingaLeastSquareMeansof0.225.In Dianbeivillage,52medicinalplantsfrom32botanical familieswereinventoriedinhomegardensmanagedby healersandatotalof24medicinalplantsfrom21botanicalfamilieswereinventoriedinhomegardensmanaged byfarmers.InDiannanvillage,atotalof39medicinal plantsfrom22botanicalfamilieswereinventoriedin homegardensmanagedbyhealersandatotalof26medicinalplantsfrom13botanicalfamilieswereinventoriedin homegardensmanagedbyfarmers.DiscussionThisstudyhighlightstherichbiodiversityofmedicinal plantcultivationandethnomedicalpracticeinhomegardensofNaxicommunitiestomaintainwellbeingandto supportlivelihoods.FindingsshowthatNaxicommunities manageplantdiversityintheirhomegardenstotreata widerangeofhealthconditionsthatinflictlocalhouseholds.Atotalof106plantspecieswereinventoriedfrom 50botanicalfamiliestotreat160healthconditions.Plant speciesmaintainedbyhealerswasfoundtobesignificantly distinctthanplantspeciesmanagedbyfarmerswhileno significantdifferencewasfoundinmedicinalplantspecies richnesscultivatedatthetwostudysites.Ethnomedical usageofplantsmanagedbyhealerswasmarkedlydistinct fromusagecategoriesmanagedbyfarmers.Findingsshow thatplantresourcesareimportanttocommunitywellbeingatthestudysiteswiththemajorityofhouseholds relyingonanintegrationofNaxiandWesternmedicine forcommunitywellbeing.Theminorityofhouseholds thatrelysolelyonNaximedicineindicatesthatculturaleffortsmaybeneededinthefutureforthepreservationof traditionalNaximedicinewithfurthersocio-economic changeatthestudysites.Economicincentivesprovided bymedicinalplantmarketshelpsensurethattheseresourceswillcontinuetobecultivatedatthestudysites. ThepresentstudycontributestotheliteratureonNaxi ethnomedicineintheSino-Himalayanarea.Previous ethnomedicinalworkintheSino-Himalayanareashows similarresultsonthemostfrequentlyprevalentplants familiesusedformedicine.Whilehouseholdsmanagea rangeofmedicinalplantsfromover100botanicalfamilies,overhalftheplantsbelongto10botanicalfamilies withAsteraceaebeingthemostprevalent.Nineofthese prevalentbotanicalfamilieshavebeenpreviouslyreported tobemostprominentinNaxiethnomedicalsystems [32,33]includingAsteraceae,Labiatae,Ranunculaceae, Apiacea,Rosaceae,Liliaceae,Polygonaceae,Orchidaceae, andCampanulaceae.ThefindingthatthemajorityofinventoriedmedicinalplantsinNaxihomegardensareherbaceousspeciessupportspreviousethnobotanicalfindings [16]andhighlightstheimportanceofconservingherbaceousplantdiversityforcommunitywellbeing. Inflammationandcirculatorysystemdisorderswere foundtobethemostreportedusecategoriesformedicinal plantsmaintainedinNaxihomegardens.Findingsindicate thathealersandfarmersmaintainmedicinalplantsin theirhomegardenstotreatdistincthealthconditions.The mostprevalenthealthconditionsforinventoriedmedicinalplantsmanagedbyhealerswereforcirculatory systemdisorders,traumatici njury,respiratorysystem conditions,digestivesystemdisorder(DIG),strengtheningbonesandtendons(MUS),andgenitourinarysystemdisorders(GEN).Alternatively,themedicinalplants maintainedbylocalfarmersincluderemediesforcommon healthconditionsandforcommercialization.Previous ethnomedicinalworkintheSino-Himalayanareashows similarresultsonthemostfrequentlymentionedhealth conditionsforinventoriedmedicinalplantsincludingfor inflammation,digestivesystemdisorders,injuriesand bruises,rheumatism,respiratorysystemdisordersand dermatologicalillnesses[42-45]. Findingsthathealersmanagegreaternumbersofmedicinalplantscomparedtolocalfarmersemphasizestherole oflocalhealersasmedicalspecialistsinNaxicommunities anddemonstratestheirethnomedicalknowledge.Farmers haveknowledgeofcommonillnessesthattheycantreat throughself-careandindicatestheirgeneralistknowledge. Itisimportanttorecognizethedistinctdiversityandplant usemaintainedbythesetwostakeholdergroupsforcomprehensiveconservationandculturalrevitalizationefforts. Whilesignificantdifferenceswerefoundbetweenhealers andfarmersinmedicinalplantspeciesrichnessmaintainedinhomegardens,therewasnosignificantdifference betweenthetwostudysitecommunities.Thesefindings demonstrateculturalconsensusofNaxiethnomedicial systemsacrossthestudysitesintermsofspeciesrichness.Yang etal.JournalofEthnobiologyandEthnomedicine 2014, 10 :6Page6of8 http://www.ethnobiomed.com/content/10/1/6

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Thegreatestagreementoninventoriedmedicinalplants andtheirusesbetweenthestudysiteswasfoundfor highlycommercializedspecies. Commercializationofmed icinalplantsforChina ’ sgrowing herbalmarketconstitutesthemajorityoffarmerincomeat thestudysitesandisamajordriverofthepersistenceofmedicinalplantsinNaxicommunities.Asnewmedicinalplant productsaredevelopedforcommercializationonthebasis oftheNaxiethnomedicalsystem,itisexpectedthatlocal valuesystemsandmedicinalplantcompositionofhomegardenswillshiftwithadaptationtomeetmarketneeds.Efforts areneededtoensurethateconomicincentivesareprovided tomaintainspeciesrichnessofmedicinalplantsatthestudy sitesaswellastheirassociatedethnomedicalknowledge.ConclusionsTraditionalethnomedicalsystemscomprisingofmedicinal plantspersistinintegrationwithWesternmedicinein NaxicommunitiesintheSino-Himalayanarea.Bothexperthealersandgeneralistfarmerhouseholdssupportthe traditionalNaxiethnomedicalsystemthroughcultivation ofmedicinalplantsintheirhomegardenstotreatawide rangeofhealthconditions.However,healersandfarmers maintaindistinctspeciesintheirhomegardensfordistinct healthconditionswithinflammationbeingthemostfrequentlyreportedhealthconditionformedicinalplantuse. Farmersmanagemedicinalplantstotreatmorecommon conditionscomparedtohealers.Inaddition,approximately90%ofthemedicinalplantresourcebasemanaged byfarmersisforcommercializationforChina ’ sgrowing herbalmarket,highlightingtheroleofmarketsinprovidingeconomicincentivesfor insitu biodiversityconservationandethnomedicalpreservation. Naxihomegardensprovide insitu conservationspaces formedicinalplantgermplasmaswellasashelterfornative,rareandendangeredplants.MedicinalplantsmaintainedwithinNaxihomegardensarevaluedfordiverse propertiesincludingedible,economicandornamental properties.Inaddition,Naxihomegardensprovideimportanthabitatsfortheintroductionanddomestication forwildmedicinalplantsandasanurseryforplantpropagation.Theseecologicallyandculturallyimportantspaces forthetransmissionandpreservationofethnomedical knowledgethatsupportcommunitywellbeingandlivelihoodsareatriskwithrapidsocio-economic,policy,land useandenvironmentalchangesinChina.Conservationeffortsandevidence-basedpoliciesarenecessarytopreserve theecologicalandculturalbasethatmaintainsmedicinal plantuseandcommunitywellbeingbybothhealersand farmersinNaxihomegardens.Economicincentivesprovidedbymarketsareonewaytoensuretheprotectionof ethnomedicalplantknowledgeinNaxicommunities.Futurestudiescanshedinsightonthesuccessofsuchpoliciesandmarket-basedconservationefforts.AdditionalfileAdditionalfile1:TableS1. MedicinalplantsinNaxihomgardens.Naxi communitiesinNorthwestYunnancultivatediversemedicinalplantsin theirhomegardenstomaintainawiderangeofhealthconditions. Competinginterests Theauthorsdeclarethattheyhavenocompetinginterests. Authors ’ contributions LYconceivedofthestudy,participatedinitsdesign,conductedprimarydata collectionandhelpedtodraftthemanuscript.JRSandSAcontributedtothe studydesign,dataanalysisandmanuscriptpreparation.KMassistedinthe collectionofdataandfieldworklogistics.YZassistedinthecollectionofdata andfieldworklogistics.JMassistedinthecollectionofdataandfieldwork logistics.CLassistedinthecollectionofdataandfieldworklogistics.SP,ZY, andACHassistedinthecollectionofdataandfieldworklogistics.HH assistedinthecollectionofdataandfieldworklogistics.GXassistedinthe collectionofdataandfieldworklogistics.DXprovidedlaboratoryspaceand helpedintheanalysisofdata.Allauthorsreadandapprovedthefinal manuscript. Acknowledgements WewouldliketothankallthepeopleinDiannanandDianbeivillages whomadethisstudypossible,especiallytheHuanNan,HeChongshang, HeWangshong,YaoQingwei,HeShixiu.WearealsogratefultoZhang Quangxin,GaoCao,whohelpedwithfieldwork.Theauthorswouldliketo thankPlantlifeInternational(UK),theFoundationofStudyAbroadReturnees fromMinistryofPersonnel(Y11G221261),andProgram111inEthnobiology atMinzuUniversityofChinaforfundingsupport.SAwouldliketo acknowledgetheTEACRSprogramatTuftsUniversityforfundingsupport (NIGMSIRACDA-K12GM074869). Authordetails1CollegeofLifeandEnvironmentalScience,MinzuUniversityofChina, 27Zhong-Guan-CunSouthAvenue,Beijing100086,China.2Kunming InstituteofBotany,ChineseAcademyofSciences,Kunming650201, China.3SustainableFoodandBioenergySystemsProgram,Department ofHealthandHumanDevelopment,MontanaStateUniversity, Bozeman,MT59717,USA.4DepartmentofAnthropology,Ethnobiology Laboratory,UniversityofFlorida,P.O.Box117305,Gainesville,FL 32611-7305,USA.5CollegeofForestryandVocationalTechnologyin Yunnan,Kunming650224,China.6SouthwestForestryUniversity, Bailongshi,Kunming650224,China.7CollegeofBioscienceand Biotechnology,YangzhouUniversity,YangZhou225009,China.8128 BusbridgeLane,Godalming,SurreyGU7IQJ,UK. Received:29July2013Accepted:17December2013 Published:10January2014 References1.AgeletA,BonetMA,VallesJ: Homegardensandtheirroleasmainsource ofmedicinalplantsinmountainregionsofCatalonia(IberianPeninsula). 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