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  • Open Access

Yao herbal medicinal market during the Dragon Boat Festival in Jianghua County, China

Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine201814:61

https://doi.org/10.1186/s13002-018-0260-5

  • Received: 9 May 2018
  • Accepted: 12 September 2018
  • Published:

Abstract

Background

The traditional medicinal markets held during the Dragon Boat Festival are common and important in China’s countryside. In Jianghua, a Yao autonomous county in Hunan Province in China, the medicinal market also plays an important role for the application, conservation, and communication of traditional Yao medicinal knowledge.

Methods

During the Dragon Boat Festival in 2016 and 2017, ethnobotanical surveys and inventories were conducted in the medicinal market of Jianghua County, and voucher plant specimens were collected, identified, and deposited in a herbarium. Quantitative analysis included measurement of frequency of occurrence for species in the marketplace and the relative importance index for the number of uses for a given species.

Results

A total of 306 plant species (249 genera, 113 families) and their related information about the medicinal market were collected. Some major findings include the following: (1) Using the whole plant as medicine is more common than other medicinal plant parts; (2) treating rheumatism and clearing inner heat are the most frequent medicinal uses; and (3) taking a medicinal bath is the most frequent modality to administer the traditional medicine. The frequency of occurrence and the relative importance index of some medicinal plants were analyzed, as well as the demographics and the number of stalls and the status of traditional Yao medicinal knowledge in Jianghua. Based on the investigation, suggestions were proposed for better protecting the medicinal market and preserving traditional medicinal knowledge in Jianghua County.

Conclusion

The medicinal market during the Dragon Boat Festival in Jianghua County possesses an important cultural value and helps to conserve the traditional Yao medicinal knowledge. The medicinal plants sold at the market showed great diversity and unique local characteristics. The medicinal market is facing some challenges in such a rapidly developing era. Cultivation of young healers and maintaining the local biodiversity might be the key solutions for the development of local medicinal market and local Yao medicinal knowledge.

Keywords

  • Dragon Boat Festival
  • Yao ethnic group
  • Jianghua County
  • Traditional knowledge
  • Conservation

Background

The Dragon Boat Festival, occurring on the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese lunar calendar, is one of the most famous traditional festivals in China. People eat zongzi (a special food made from sticky rice and other ingredients), drink realgar wine, and race dragon boats to celebrate this festival all over the country. However, in Jianghua, a county with the largest population of Yao people in China [1], the Dragon Boat Festival is a special opportunity for the local people to trade medicinal plants in a large market. It has become the most important tradition in Jianghua. During this festival, the Yao villagers bring medicinal plants collected recently to the market. They share and exchange the experiences of identifying, harvesting, and applying their medicinal plants with each other and with consumers. This unique medicinal market has already become a great platform for different people to communicate with and learn from each other [2]. This spontaneous traditional activity is also making vital contributions to the sustainable conservation, transmission, and expansion of related traditional knowledge [3].

The Yao is an ancient ethnic group, and one of the 55 officially recognized minority groups of the Chinese government. The largest populations of Yao live in the mountains and high ranges of southern China and practice slash-and-burn agriculture and hunt [4, 5]. Based on the long-term practice, the Yao people depend on local plant resources to prevent and treat diseases. They have developed their own traditional medicine system, as well as distinct customs to promote health. For example, they use Acorus calamus, Artemisia argyi, and realgar to keep pests and pathogens away [4]. Our previous investigation (unpublished) indicated that in traditional culture of the Yao ethnic group, the Dragon Boat Festival is believed to be the birthday of the so-called Medicinal Lord. The effect of medicinal plants during this festival is believed to be the best by local people. Thus, the medicinal market has become the biggest and the most popular event on the Dragon Boat Festival in Jianghua.

In recent years, more scientists have studied natural herbal medicine to determine their efficacy and potentially develop validated new drugs and health care products [5, 6]. As a natural treasury of traditional medicinal knowledge, the markets selling herbal drugs possess great potential for new drug discovery [7]. Using the Web of Science with search term “medicinal market and China”, only four English-language research papers can be found [811].

As a cultural phenomenon in China, several Chinese-language papers have reported different medicinal markets during the Dragon Boat Festival, such as the investigations in Jingxi County [2, 12], Yongzhou City [13], and Gongcheng County [14]. These studies showed the species diversity of medicinal plants and their medicinal parts, medicinal purposes, modalities, and other information [2, 1214]. Much of the traditional knowledge is in danger of being lost, so these local medicinal plant resources need to be protected [2, 1214]. In Jianghua, the medicinal market in the Dragon Boat Festival is relatively large in scale, but very little scientific research has been carried out [15, 16].

Nowadays, as much traditional knowledge is in danger of disappearing, the traditional knowledge associated with the Jianghua medicinal marketplace should be preserved. Therefore, an ethnobotanical research focused on Jianghua medicinal market was conducted at the Dragon Boat Festival in 2016 and 2017. This study evaluates the status of the Jianghua medicinal market and analyzes the relationship among this medicinal market, local community, and local natural environment. Based on the study results, some suggestions are included for local communities to protect this medicinal market. Furthermore, this study may provide valuable clues for future development and also give comprehensive and scientific guidance for local people to consume the medicinal herbs in a safer manner.

Methods

Study site

Jianghua Yao Autonomous County belongs to Hunan Province and is located close to the border area of Guangdong Province, Guangxi Region, and Hunan Province in South China (Fig. 1). This area has a rich biodiversity, plentiful rainfall, and a mild temperature due to the low-latitude subtropical monsoon climate [17]. The population of Jianghua County is predominated by Yao people who account for more than half of the county’s population. Other ethnic groups like Zhuang, Han, and Miao also live there but have smaller populations [17]. Our previous investigation showed that the medicinal market distributes on Changzhen Street and its branches. The market starts 2 days before the Dragon Boat Festival and it grows to its largest on the festival day.
Fig. 1
Fig. 1

The location of Jianghua County, Hunan Province, China

Ethnobotanical data collection and statistical analysis

An ethnobotanical method was mainly used for this study. At the local market, each stall and vendor was investigated, and relevant information was recorded for all of the medicinal plants in trade. The chosen informants were vendors, buyers, and folk healers as well as other old knowledgeable people. Key informant interview was comprised of semi-structured interview and free listing based on the informant consensus. By means of different interview methods, comprehensive information about the medicinal plants in the market for further analysis was obtained.

Quantitative analysis was used to reveal the taxonomic characters and diversity of the modalities, using parts and medicinal uses of the medicinal herbs. The medicinal market opened around the Dragon Boat Festival which is only about 3 days each year. We intensively collected information from the medicinal market (269 stalls), and the methods including pairwise comparison and rank ordering are almost impossible even they are much more robust. Instead, the frequency of the occurrence and the relative importance (RI) index of the medicinal herbs were employed.

RI was originally proposed by Bennet et al. in 2000 [18]. This index is used to evaluate the degree of development and utilization of certain plant species. The formula of RI is as below [19]:
$$ \mathrm{RI}=\mathrm{NUT}+\mathrm{NT} $$
NUT is the number of categories used for a certain species divided by the number of all categories, and NT is the number of types of uses of a specific species divided by the number of all use types. During this study, NUT was equated as the number of types of therapeutic modalities (NM) of a given species divided by the number of all modalities [19]. Thus, RI is the sum of the NM and NT as the following formula:
$$ \mathrm{RI}=\mathrm{NM}+\mathrm{NT} $$

The number of the vendors, the gender, and the age composition of the vendors were also analyzed.

Voucher specimens of medicinal plants were collected with assistance from the local people in the market, villages nearby, and local ecosystems. They were identified by botanical experts, Profs. Chunlin Long, Chunrui Lin, and Yan Liu and Dr. Bo Liu. All specimens of medicinal plants collected in Jianghua were deposited in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Minzu University of China. The information compiled includes the following: vernacular names, scientific names, taxonomic status, using parts, medicinal uses, modalities, and voucher numbers of all medicinal plants collected in Jianghua. All the medicinal plants and related information are shown in Table 1.
Table 1

Inventory of medicinal plants traded in the Jianghua medicinal market

Scientific name

Family name

Local name

Purposes

Usage

Part used

Voucher number

RI value

Gymnosperma

Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb.) Hook.

Taxodiaceae

Cong Liang

Skin disease

Medicinal bath

 

JH-114

2

Juniperus chinensis L.

Cupressaceae

 

Treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation, skin disease

Medicinal bath

Branch, leaf

JH-043

4

Cephalotaxus fortunei Hook.

Cephalotaxaceae

 

Treating cancer, treating rheumatism

Medicinal bath

Branch, leaf

JH-159

3

Gnetum parvi+281:286folium (Warb.) W.C.Cheng

Gnetaceae

 

Skin disease

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-181

3

Angiospermae

Illicium verum Hook.f.

Schisandraceae

 

Nourishing, relieving pain

Spices

Fruit

JH-027

3

Kadsura coccinea (Lem.) A. C. Sm.

Schisandraceae

Da Zuan

Relieving pain, treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation

Medicinal bath, making tincture

Root, stem

JH-070

5

Kadsura longipedunculata Finet & Gagnep.

Schisandraceae

Xiao Zuan Gu Feng

Treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation

Medicinal bath

Root, stem

JH-165

3

Houttuynia cordata Thunb.

Saururaceae

Ge Le Tao

Heat clearing and detoxifying, treating respiratory disease, treating heatstroke

Food, herbal tea, medicinal bath

Root, leaf

JH-089

6

Saururus chinensis (Lour.) Baill.

Saururaceae

Yi Bai Liang Bai

Treating gynopathy, skin disease

Herbal tea, food, medicinal bath, stewing

Whole plant

JH-061

6

Piper betle L.

Piperaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, diminishing inflammation, skin disease, treating cold

Decoction, medicinal bath

Stem, leaf

JH-029

6

Asarum sagittarioides C. F. Liang

Aristolochiaceae

Shan Ci Gu

Treating snake bite, treating rheumatism, relieving pain, traumatic injury

Medicinal bath, decoction

Whole plant

JH-277

6

Fissistigma oldhamii (Hemsl.) Merr.

Annonaceae

Xiang Teng

Treating rheumatism, relieving pain, strengthening muscles and bones

Medicinal bath

Root, stem

JH-180

4

Fissistigma polyanthum (Hook. f. & Thoms.) Merr.

Annonaceae

Xie Di Feng

Treating rheumatism

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-298

3

Cinnamomum camphora(L.) Presl

Lauraceae

Zhang Shu Ye

Treating rheumatism, expelling parasite

Medicinal bath

 

JH-208

3

Cinnamomum glanduliferum (Wall.) Meisn.

Lauraceae

 

Treating rheumatism

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Bark, root

JH-088

3

Cinnamomum wilsonii Gamble

Lauraceae

Gui Shu Pi

Treating rheumatism, treating arthritis

Medicinal bath, food

Bark

JH-077

4

Lindera glauca (Sieb. et Zucc.) Blume

Lauraceae

Jia Si Feng

Treating rheumatism, detoxifying, relaxing tendons and activating collaterals

Medicinal bath

Branch, leaf

JH-233

4

Litsea cubeba (Lour.) Pers.

Lauraceae

 

Treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation, relieving pain, treating gastrointestinal disease

Food (fruit, bud)

Whole plant, fruit, bud

JH-153

5

Chloranthus fortunei (A. Gray) Solms

Chloranthaceae

Si Ji Feng

Treating rheumatism, treating cold, detoxifying, relieving cough

Medicinal bath, decoction

Whole plant

JH-055

6

Sarcandra glabra (Thunb.) Nakai

Chloranthaceae

Jiu Jie Cha

Treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation, heat clearing and detoxifying

Leaf:medicinal bath; root: making tincture

Whole plant

JH-096

5

Acorus calamus var. angustatus Besser

Acoraceae

Yan Chang Pu

Skin disease, treating cold

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-202

4

Acorus calamus L.

Acoraceae

Sha Jiang

Nourishing

Medicinal bath, food

Rhizome

JH-221

3

Arisaema decipiens Schott

Araceae

 

Treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation

Medicinal bath

Root, stem

JH-295

3

Pothos chinensis (Raf.) Merr.

Araceae

 

Treating rheumatism

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-185

3

Potamogeton lucens L.

Potamogetonaceae

 

Treating infantile malnutrition

Food

Whole plant

JH-184

2

Dioscorea opposita Thunb.

Dioscoreaceae

 

Nourishing, eliminating phlegm

Food

Tuber

JH-275

3

Tacca plantaginea (Hance) Drenth

Dioscoreaceae

Xia Zi Cao

Heat clearing and detoxifying, eliminating inflammation, stopping bleeding

Herbal tea, food, medicinal bath

Rhizome

JH-011

5

Stemona tuberosa Lour.

Stemonaceae

 

Treating respiratory disease, expelling parasite

Decoction

Tuber

JH-281

3

Paris polyphylla Sm.

Melanthiaceae

Du Jiao Lian

Heat clearing and detoxifying, relieving cough

External use, decoction

Rhizome

JH-260

4

Disporum cantoniense (Lour.) Merr.

Colchicaceae

Yao Bian Zhu

Relieving cough, promoting digestion

Decoction

Rhizome

JH-214

2

Smilax china L.

Smilacaceae

Niu Wei Cai

Treating rheumatism, detoxifying, promoting blood circulation

Root: food (stewing with chicken); leaf: medicinal bath

Rhizome

JH-246

5

Smilax riparia A. DC.

Smilacaceae

Da Sheng Jin

Treating rheumatism, relieving cough

Medicinal bath

Root, rhizome

JH-097

3

Aletris spicata (Thunb.) Franch.

Liliaceae

Jin Xian Diao Bai Mi

Nourishing, relieving cough, expelling parasite

Decoction, food

Whole plant

JH-178

5

Anemarrhena asphodeloides Bunge

Liliaceae

Fen Tiao Cai

Treating gastrointestinal disease, treating gynopathy

Decoction

Rhizome

JH-113

3

Aspidistra elatior Blume

Liliaceae

Wu Gong Gen

Nourishing, promoting blood circulation, relieving cough

Decoction

Rhizome

JH-174

4

Aspidistra retusa K.Y. Lang et S. Z. Huang

Liliaceae

Guo Shan Wu Gong

Nourishing, promoting blood circulation, relieving cough

Decoction

Rhizome

JH-130

4

Liriope muscari (Decne.) L. H. Bailey

Liliaceae

 

Nourishing

Decoction

Tuber

JH-271

2

Ophiopogon bodinieri H. Lév.

Liliaceae

Jiu Cai Mai Dong

Heat clearing

Decoction, medicinal bath

Tuber

JH-069

3

Ophiopogon japonicus (Thunb.) Ker Gawl.

Liliaceae

Qing Pi Cao

Nourishing

Herbal tea

Tuber

JH-217

2

Reineckia carnea (Andrews) Kunth

Liliaceae

 

Heat clearing, relieving cough

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-251

3

Bulbophyllum odoratissimum (J.E.Smith) Lindl.

Orchidaceae

Shi Xian Tao

Treating respiratory disease, treating infantile malnutrition, relaxing tendons and activating collaterals, eliminating inflammation

Herbal tea

Whole plant

JH-264

5

Bulbophyllum pectinatum Finet

Orchidaceae

Shi Shan Tao

Traumatic injury, treating respiratory disease, relieving cough

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-041

4

Dendrobium catenatum Lindl.

Orchidaceae

 

Relieving stomachache

Herbal tea

Stem

JH-265

2

Dendrobium nobile Lindl.

Orchidaceae

 

Treating diabetes, improving eyesight, nourishing, promoting gastrointestinal functions

Herbal tea

Stem

JH-101

5

Galeola lindleyana (Hook.f. & Thomson) Rchb.f.

Orchidaceae

Zou Ma Feng

Treating rheumatism, relieving headache

Decoction, making tincture

Whole plant

JH-058

4

Luisia morsei Rolfe

Orchidaceae

Diao Lan

Treating rheumatism, treating respiratory disease, treating cold, treating cancer

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-133

5

Pholidota chinensis Lindl.

Orchidaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, treating infantile malnutrition

Food (stewing with meat)

Pseudobulb

JH-146

3

Spiranthes sinensis (Pers.) Ames

Orchidaceae

 

Nourishing, detoxifying

Herbal tea

Whole plant

JH-122

3

Gladiolus × gandavensis

Iridaceae

 

Diminishing inflammation, traumatic injury, heat clearing and detoxifying

External use

Rhizome

JH-040

4

Iris confusa Sealy

Iridaceae

 

Diminishing inflammation, treating infantile malnutrition, treating respiratory disease

Medicinal bath

Rhizome

JH-193

4

Dianella ensifolia (L.) DC.

Asphodelaceae

 

Detoxifying, promoting blood circulation, relieving pain

External use

Whole plant

JH-282

4

Hemerocallis citrina Baroni

Asphodelaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, nourishing

Food (stewing with meat, flower), decoction (root)

Root, flower

JH-090

4

Curculigo orchioides Gaertn.

Amaryllidaceae

 

Treating rheumatism, nourishing, strengthening muscles and bones

Medicinal bath

Rhizome

JH-213

4

Polygonatum sibiricum F. Delaroche

Asparagaceae

 

Nourishing

Decoction, medicinal bath

Rhizome

JH-236

3

Murdannia keisak (Hassk.) Hand.-Mazz.

Commelinaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, inducing diuresis, treating snake bite

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-093

4

Bulbophyllum odoratissimum (Sm.) Lindl. ex Wall.

Musaceae

 

Treating heart disease

Herbal tea

Flower

JH-006

2

Alpinia chinensis (Retz.) Roscoe

Zingiberaceae

Jian Gan Feng

Treating rheumatism

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-196

2

Alpinia galanga (L.) Willd.

Zingiberaceae

 

Treating rheumatism, nourishing

Medicinal bath

Fruit, rhizome

JH-046

3

Alpinia japonica (Thunb.) Miq.

Zingiberaceae

Huang Qi

Treating rheumatism, nourishing, relieving pain

Medicinal bath

Root, stem

JH-138

4

Amomum villosum Lour.

Zingiberaceae

Jing Gan Feng

Treating rheumatism, nourishing

Medicinal bath, making tincture

Fruit

JH-195

4

Curcuma longa L.

Zingiberaceae

 

Relieving pain, treating gynopathy, inducing diaphoresis

Spices: stewing with chicken

Rhizome

JH-128

4

Typha orientalis C. Presl

Typhaceae

Shui La Zhu

Nourishing

Medicinal bath

Flower

JH-134

2

Juncus effusus L.

Juncaceae

Shui Deng Xin

Heat clearing, inducing diuresis, treating respiratory disease, relieving cough,

Herbal tea

Stem pith

JH-262

5

Imperata cylindrica (L.) Raeusch.

Poaceae

 

Heat clearing, stopping bleeding, inducing diuresis

Decoction, external use

Root

 

5

Lophatherum gracile Brongn.

Poaceae

 

Heat clearing, relieving cough, inducing diuresis

Herbal tea

Root

JH-243

4

Pennisetum alopecuroides (L.) Spreng.

Poaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, relieving cough

Herbal tea

Whole plant

JH-106

3

Saccharum spontaneum L.

Poaceae

Si Mao Cao

Heat clearing and detoxifying, treating cold, relieving cough

Decoction

Rhizome, stem

JH-276

4

Eomecon chionantha Hance

Papaveraceae

Xue San Qi

Promoting blood circulation

Decoction

Root, rhizome

JH-219

2

Macleaya cordata (Willd.) R. Br.

Papaveraceae

Ye Xia Shuang

Skin disease

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-253

3

Akebia trifoliata (Thunb.) Koidz.

Lardizabalaceae

 

Treating rheumatism, inducing diuresis, treating gynopathy, relaxing tendons and activating collaterals

Making tincture, medicinal bath

Root, stem, fruit

JH-296

6

Sargentodoxa cuneata (Oliv.) Rehder et E. H. Wilson

Lardizabalaceae

Huo Xue Feng

Treating gastrointestinal disease, heat clearing and detoxifying, promoting blood circulation, treating rheumatism

Making tincture, medicinal bath

Root, stem

JH-161

6

Stephania cephalantha Hayata

Menispermaceae

Sei Dong

Treating innominate inflammatory

Decoction

Tuber

JH-168

2

Stephania kwangsiensis H. S. Lo

Menispermaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, promoting blood circulation, relieving pain

Decoction

Tuber

JH-053

4

Tinospora sagittata (Oliv.) Gagnep.

Menispermaceae

Qing Teng

Heat clearing and detoxifying, diminishing inflammation, relieving pain, relieving sore throat

Decoction

Tuber

JH-231

5

Berberis julianae C. K. Schneid.

Berberidaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, diminishing inflammation, sterilization

Medicinal bath

Root

JH-247

4

Dysosma versipellis (Hance) M. Cheng

Berberidaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, promoting blood circulation

Decoction

Rhizome

JH-235

3

Epimedium brevicornu Maxim.

Berberidaceae

 

Nourishing, skin disease

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-294

3

Mahonia fortunei (Lindl.) Fedde

Berberidaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying

Decoction, medicinal bath

Root, stem

JH-241

3

Nandina domestica Thunb.

Berberidaceae

 

Heat clearing, treating rheumatism

Medicinal bath

Root, stem

JH-072

3

Aconitum gymnandrum Maxim.

Ranunculaceae

 

Treating rheumatism, traumatic injury

External use, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-163

4

Clematis henryi Oliv.

Ranunculaceae

Di Lei

Traumatic injury, reducing phlegm, relieving pain, relieving cough

Herbal tea, making tincture

Root, leaf

JH-026

6

Clematis uncinata Champ. ex Benth.

Ranunculaceae

 

Treating rheumatism, rheumatic arthritis, stopping bleeding, toothache, relaxing tendons and activating collaterals

Root: making tincture; decoction

Root, leaf

JH-155

7

Liquidambar formosana Hance

Altingiaceae

Lu Lu Tong

Relaxing tendons and activating collaterals

Medicinal bath

Fruit

JH-167

2

Semiliquidambar cathayensis H. T. Chang

Altingiaceae

Ban Feng He

Treating rheumatism, relaxing tendons and activating collaterals, promoting blood circulation, postpartum recovery, skin disease

Medicinal bath, decoction,

Bark, root

JH-284

7

Loropetalum chinense (R. Br.) Oliv.

Hamamelidaceae

 

Promoting blood circulation, leaf: stopping bleeding, traumatic injury

Medicinal bath, external use

Root, leaf

JH-103

5

Astilbe rivularis Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don

Saxifragaceae

 

Treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation, relieving pain, treating gastrointestinal disease

Herbal tea

Rhizome

JH-032

5

Hylotelephium erythrostictum (Miq.) H. Ohba

Crassulaceae

 

Traumatic injury, treating innominate inflammatory, treating rheumatism

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-126

4

Kalanchoe pinnatum (Lam.) Oken

Crassulaceae

 

Traumatic injury, treating innominate inflammation

Medicinal bath

Leaf

JH-300

3

Sedum emarginatum Migo

Crassulaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, traumatic injury, stopping bleeding, hepatitis

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-123

5

Sedum kamtschaticum Fisch.

Crassulaceae

Luo Di Sheng Gen

Treating innominate inflammation, traumatic injury, promoting blood circulation, stopping bleeding

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-242

5

Ampelopsis grossedentata (Hand.-Mazz.) W. T. Wang

Vitaceae

Tian Cha

Treating respiratory disease, heat clearing and detoxifying, treating hypertension

Herbal tea

Tender stem, leaf

JH-120

4

Cayratia japonica (Thunb.) Gagnep.

Vitaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, inducing diuresis, treating snake bite

Decoction, external use

Whole plant

JH-108

5

Parthenocissus tricuspidata (Siebold & Zucc.) Planch.

Vitaceae

Da Feng Teng

Treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Root, stem, fruit

JH-266

4

Bauhinia championii (Benth.) Benth.

Fabaceae

Jiu Long Zuan

Treating rheumatism, relaxing tendons and activating collaterals, relieving pain

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Stem

JH-285

5

Callerya speciosa (Champ. ex Benth.) Schot

Fabaceae

Tu Ren Shen

Nourishing, heat clearing, activating collaterals

Decoction

Root

JH-269

4

Cassia tora L.

Fabaceae

 

Improving eyesight, inducing diuresis, treating gastrointestinal disease

Food, medicinal bath

Seed

JH-240

5

Desmodium multiflorum DC.

Fabaceae

E Ma Huang

Heat clearing, treating infantile malnutrition

Herbal tea

Flower, branch

JH-144

3

Entada phaseoloides (L.) Merr.

Fabaceae

Niu Gu Feng

Treating rheumatism, nourishing, promoting blood circulation

Decoction

Rattan

JH-143

4

Flemingia philippinensis Merr. et Rolfe

Fabaceae

Diao Ma Zhuang

Nourishing

Decoction

Root

JH-012

2

Gleditsia sinensis Lam.

Fabaceae

 

Skin disease, eliminating phlegm, inducing diuresis, expelling parasite

Burnt, herbal tea, medicinal bath

Pod, seed, shoot thorn

JH-256

7

Indigofera decora Lindl. var. ichangensis (Craib) Y. Y. Fang & C. Z. Zheng

Fabaceae

Ye Jue Ming

Treating high fever

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Root

JH-080

3

Kummerowia striata (Thunb.) Schindl.

Fabaceae

Hong Cha Zi

Heat clearing and detoxifying, promoting blood circulation, treating gastrointestinal disease

Medicinal bath, decoction

Whole plant

JH-290

5

Lespedeza cuneata (Dum. Cours.) G. Don

Fabaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, improving eyesight, treating infantile malnutrition

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-292

5

Millettia dielsiana Harms

Fabaceae

Xing Xue Feng

Treating rheumatism, relaxing tendons and activating collaterals

Medicinal bath

Stem

JH-036

3

Ohwia caudata (Thunb.) H.Ohashi

Fabaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, treating rheumatism, skin disease

Medicinal bath

Root, whole plant

JH-274

4

Pithecellobium clypearia (Jack) Benth.

Fabaceae

Zao Ga Zi

Treating rheumatism, skin disease

Medicinal bath

Fruit

JH-110

3

Sophora tonkinensis Gagnep.

Fabaceae

Tao Ma Zhua

Heat clearing and detoxifying, diminishing inflammation, relieving pain,

Food (stewing with meat), medicinal bath

Root

JH-124

5

Spatholobus suberectus Dunn

Fabaceae

Jiu Ceng Feng

Promoting blood circulation, treating rheumatism

Food (stewing soup), medicinal bath

Stem

JH-054

4

Fagopyrum acutatum (Lehm.) Mansf. ex K. Hammer

Polygonaceae

Tie Leng Jiao

Heat clearing and detoxifying, promoting blood circulation, treating calculus

External use, decoction

Root, rhizome

JH-230

5

Polygala fallax Hemsl.

Polygalaceae

Huang Ji Gong

Nourishing

Food (stewing with chicken)

Root

JH-031

2

Polygala japonica Houtt.

Polygalaceae

 

Resolving phlegm, heat clearing and detoxifying

Herbal tea, stewing soup

Whole plant

JH-037

4

Polygala tenuifolia Willd.

Polygalaceae

 

Nourishing, resolving phlegm, strengthening muscles and bones

Decoction, medicinal bath

Bark

JH-191

5

Polygonum hydropiper L.

Polygonaceae

Liao Zi Cao

Treating rheumatism, detoxifying, expelling parasite, eliminating inflammation

Medicinal bath, making tincture

Whole plant

JH-199

6

Polygonum perfoliatum L.

Polygonaceae

She Bu Guo

Heat clearing and detoxifying, inducing diuresis, treating venomous snake bite

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-084

4

Reynoutria multiflora (Thunb.) Moldenke

Polygonaceae

 

Nourishing

Decoction, medicinal bath

Tuber

JH-192

3

Rumex acetosa L.

Polygonaceae

Yang Ti Gen

Skin disease, heat clearing and detoxifying

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-044

3

Rumex nepalensis Spreng.

Polygonaceae

Tu Da Huang

Relieving pain, stopping bleeding

Medicinal bath

Root, leaf

JH-218

3

Agrimonia pilosa Ledeb.

Rosaceae

Sa Yao

Treating gastrointestinal disease, diminishing inflammation, stopping bleeding, treating heatstroke

Medicinal bath, medicine, herbal tea

Whole plant

JH-098

7

Geum aleppicum Jacq.

Rosaceae

 

Treating rheumatism, heat clearing, relieving pain

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-100

5

Potentilla discolor Bunge

Rosaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, stopping bleeding, treating diabetes

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-190

4

Sanguisorba officinalis L.

Rosaceae

Xi Gua Xiang

Heat clearing and detoxifying, stopping bleeding, relieving pain

Decoction, food (stewing with water)

Root

JH-209

5

Frangula crenata (Siebold & Zucc.) Miq.

Rhamnaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, expelling parasite

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-071

3

Rhamnus globosa Bunge

Rhamnaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, expelling parasite

Decoction

Fruit

JH-273

3

Sageretia thea (Osbeck) M. C. Johnst.

Rhamnaceae

Dao Ding Feng

Eliminating phlegm, skin disease, treating rheumatism

Decoction, medicinal bath

Aerial part

JH-198

5

Zelkova serrata (Thunb.) Makino

Ulmaceae

Sha Lang Shu

Treating gastrointestinal disease, skin disease

Medicinal bath

Bark, leaf

JH-014

3

Humulus scandens (Lour.) Merr.

Cannabaceae

Pi Jiu Hua

Heat clearing and detoxifying, inducing diuresis

Decoction, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-226

4

Ficus pumila L.

Moraceae

Hei Pi Feng

Nourishing, treating rheumatism

Herbal tea

Fruit

JH-002

3

Boehmeria nivea (L.) Gaudich.

Urticaceae

 

Heat clearing, inducing diuresis, stopping bleeding, nourishing

Medicinal bath, decoction

Rhizome, leaf

JH-291

6

Parietaria micrantha Ledeb.

Urticaceae

Shi Qian Cao

Heat clearing, promoting digest

Herbal tea

Whole plant

JH-099

3

Pilea cavaleriei H. Lév.

Urticaceae

Ai Jiao Cha

Relieving cough, detoxifying, heat clearing and detoxifying, relieving pain

Herbal tea

Whole plant

JH-194

3

Hemsleya macrosperma C.Y. Wu

Cucurbitaceae

Shan Wu Gui

Heat clearing and detoxifying, treating gastrointestinal disease

Decoction

Tuber

JH-283

3

Thladiantha dubia Bunge

Cucurbitaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, promoting blood circulation, relieving cough

Decoction

Fruit, root

JH-187

4

Begonia cathayana Hemsl.

Begoniaceae

 

Treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation, skin disease, traumatic injury

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-015

5

Begonia fimbristipula Hance

Begoniaceae

San Xue Zi

Treating traumatic injury, relieving cough

External use, decoction

Corm

JH-063

4

Celastrus orbiculatus Thunb.

Celastraceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, treating rheumatism

Medicinal bath, decoction

Fruit

JH-287

4

Celastrus wilfordii Hook.f.

Celastraceae

Nan She Feng

Treating rheumatism

Medicinal bath, decoction

Whole plant

JH-118

3

Euonymus fortunei (Turcz.) Hand.-Mazz.

Celastraceae

Luo Shi Teng

Relaxing tendons and activating collaterals

Herbal tea, food (making soup)

Stem, leaf

JH-066

3

Hypericum japonicum Thunb.

Clusiaceae

Gua Zi Cao

Heat clearing and detoxifying promoting blood circulation, treating gastrointestinal disease

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-189

3

Hypericum monogynum L.

Clusiaceae

 

Treating rheumatism, relieving cough, treating stomachache, treating traumatic injury

Herbal tea

Root

JH-140

5

Hypericum sampsonii Hance

Clusiaceae

 

Treating gynopathy, heat clearing and detoxifying, relaxing tendons and activating collaterals

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-131

5

Viola inconspicua Blume

Violaceae

Li Tou Cao

Heat clearing and detoxifying, promoting blood circulation, traumatic injury

Herbal tea

Whole plant

JH-252

4

Croton congestus Lour.

Salicaceae

 

Treating rheumatism

Medicinal bath, fruit: food

Branch, leaf

JH-013

3

Bischofia polycarpa (H. Lév.) Airy Shaw

Euphorbiaceae

 

Stopping bleeding

Medicinal bath

Root, bark

JH-087

2

Glochidion puberum (L.) Hutch.

Euphorbiaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, treating gastrointestinal disease, promoting blood circulation

Decoction

Root

JH-091

4

Phyllanthus urinaria L.

Phyllanthaceae

Ni Qiu Cao

Improving eyesight, heat clearing, promoting digest system

Decoction

Whole plant, root

JH-083

4

Combretum indicum (L.) DeFilipps

Combretaceae

 

Promoting digest, expelling parasite

Food

Seed

JH-224

3

Lythrum salicaria L.

Lythraceae

Hong Si Cao

Treating infantile malnutrition, stopping bleeding

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-148

3

Rotala rotundifolia (Buch.-Ham. ex Roxb.) Koehne

Lythraceae

 

Heat clearing, traumatic injury, treating snake bite, skin disease

Decoction, external use, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-272

7

Melastoma dodecandrum Lour.

Melastomataceae

Di Yang mei

Treating gastrointestinal disease

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-263

2

Memecylon scutellatum (Lour.) Hook. & Arn

Melastomataceae

 

Treating heart disease

Decoction

Flower

JH-157

2

Osbeckia stellata Buch.-Ham. ex Ker Gawl.

Melastomataceae

 

Diminishing inflammation, treating gastrointestinal disease, heat clearing, stopping bleeding

Decoction, food (stewing with meat)

Whole plant, root

JH-115

6

Stachyurus chinensis Franch.

Stachyuraceae

 

Treating gynopathy, heat clearing, urinary tract infection, inducing diuresis

Decoction

Stem pith

JH-068

5

Acer pictum Thunb.

Anacardiaceae

 

Treating rheumatism, traumatic injury

Decoction, external use, medicinal bath

Stem, leaf

JH-021

5

Rhus chinensis Mill.

Anacardiaceae

Pen Bai

Skin disease

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Root, leaf

JH-258

3

Acronychia pedunculata (L.) Miq.

Rutaceae

La Jiang Ye

Detoxifying

Medicinal bath

Root, leaf, fruit

JH-052

2

Atalantia buxifolia (Poir.) Oliv.

Rutaceae

Lei Gong Le

Treating cold, treating rheumatism, treating respiratory disease, treating gastrointestinal disease, traumatic injury

Medicinal bath

Root, leaf

JH-067

6

Citrus trifoliata L.

Rutaceae

 

Skin disease

Medicinal bath

Branches and leaves

JH-171

2

Toddalia asiatica (L.) Lam.

Rutaceae

Zou Xue Feng

Treating rheumatism, relieving pain, promoting blood circulation

Medicinal bath

Root, leaf

JH-249

4

Zanthoxylum ailanthoides Siebold & Zucc.

Rutaceae

 

Treating rheumatism, relaxing tendons and activating collaterals

Making soup

Whole plant

JH-279

3

Zanthoxylum armatum DC.

Rutaceae

 

Treating rheumatism, relaxing tendons and activating collaterals

Food

Whole plant, fruit

JH-259

3

Zanthoxylum austrosinense Huang

Rutaceae

Man Shan Xiang

Treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation

Medicinal bath, external use, decoction

Fruit

JH-304

5

Melia azedarach L.

Meliaceae

 

Expelling parasite, skin disease

Decoction, external use

Root, bark

JH-232

4

Sida acuta Burm.f.

Malvaceae

 

Diminishing inflammation, sterilization

Medicinal bath

Root, leaf

JH-207

3

Wikstroemia indica (L.) C. A. Mey.

Thymelaeaceae

Tie Gu Shan

Skin disease

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-129

2

Rorippa indica (L.) Hiern

Brassicaceae

Mi Gong

Stopping bleeding, traumatic injury, relieving cough, skin disease

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-092

6

Balanophora harlandii Hook.f.

Balanophoraceae

 

Traumatic injury, promoting blood circulation, treating gynopathy disease

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-132

4

Taxillus chinensis (DC.) Danser

Loranthaceae

 

Treating rheumatism, nourishing, strengthening muscles and bones, miscarriage prevention

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-079

5

Viscum articulatum Burm.f.

Loranthaceae

Pang Xie Jiao

Treating rheumatism, treating respiratory disease, promoting blood circulation

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Branch, leaf

JH-211

5

Viscum diospyrosicola Hayata

Loranthaceae

Tao Ji Sheng

Treating rheumatism, heat clearing, diminishing inflammation, relaxing tendons

Decoction, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-111

6

Viscum liquidambaricola Hayata

Loranthaceae

 

Treating rheumatism, relaxing tendons and activating collaterals, promoting blood circulation, relieving cough

Decoction, medicinal bath

Branch, leaf

JH-107

6

Ceratostigma willmottianum Stapf

Plumbaginaceae

 

Treating gynopathy, treating rheumatism, treating respiratory disease

Medicinal bath

Branches and leaves, root

JH-261

4

Plumbago zeylanica L.

Plumbaginaceae

Bai Zi Cao

Treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation, expelling parasite, detoxifying

External use, making tincture

Whole plant, root

JH-065

6

Plumbago zeylanica L.

Plumbaginaceae

Meng Lao Hu

Treating rheumatism, detoxifying, promoting blood circulation, skin disease

Medicinal bath

Root, leaf

JH-175

4

Drosera peltata Thunb.

Droseraceae

Di Ming Zhu

Traumatic injury, detoxifying

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-064

3

Achyranthes aspera L.

Amaranthaceae

Bai Niu Xi

Heat clearing and detoxifying, treating rheumatism, nourishing, relieving pain

Decoction, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-267

6

Achyranthes bidentata Blume

Amaranthaceae

Tu Niu Xi

Nourishing

Decoction

Root

JH-050

2

Achyranthes longifolia (Makino) Makino

Amaranthaceae

Hong Niu Xi

Promoting blood circulation, inducing diuresis

Food

Root

JH-227

3

Aerva sanguinolenta (L.) Blume

Amaranthaceae

 

Relieving cough, traumatic injury, strengthening muscles and bones, treating dysentery, nourishing

Medicinal bath, food

Root, flower

JH-078

7

Amaranthus spinosus L.

Amaranthaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-200

2

Phytolacca acinosa Roxb.

Phytolaccaceae

 

Traumatic injury, skin disease

Root: external use; tender leaf and stem: food

Root

JH-112

4

Basella alba L.

Basellaceae

Teng Sa Qi

Heat clearing and detoxifying, skin disease

Decoction, external use

Leaf, whole plant

JH-119

4

Portulaca oleracea L.

Portulacaceae

Gua Zi Cai

Heat clearing and detoxifying, eliminating phlegm

Medicinal bath, herbal tea

Whole plant

JH-007

4

Talinum paniculatum (Jacq.) Gaertn.

Portulacaceae

Tu Ren Shen

Nourishing, inducing saliva, detoxifying

Food

Tuber

JH-301

4

Ardisia affinis Hemsl.

Primulaceae

Xiao Ai Di Cha

Promoting blood circulation, traumatic injury

Decoction, medicinal bath

Root

JH-095

4

Ardisia corymbifera Mez

Primulaceae

 

Traumatic injury, treating rheumatism

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-028

3

Ardisia crenata Sims var. bicolor (E. Walker) C. Y. Wu & C. Chen

Primulaceae

Zhen Zhu Gai Liang San

Treating traumatic injury, treating rheumatism, treating respiratory disease

Food, medicinal bath, herbal tea

Whole plant

JH-254

6

Ardisia cymosa Blume

Primulaceae

 

Promoting blood circulation, heat clearing, diminishing inflammation, stopping bleeding

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-001

5

Ardisia gigantifolia Stapf

Primulaceae

 

Treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation, relieving pain

External use, medicinal bath

Rhizome, whole plant

JH-170

5

Ardisia japonica (Thunb.) Blume

Primulaceae

Xue Feng

Treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation, skin disease, treating cold, relieving cough

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant, root

JH-121

7

Ardisia pusilla A. DC.

Primulaceae

 

Relieving pain, promoting blood circulation, treating gynopathy, treating snake bite, skin disease

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-225

6

Embelia laeta (L.) Mez

Primulaceae

Zhuan Guo Hong

Treating rheumatism

Medicinal bath, stewing soup

Whole plant

JH-048

3

Embelia rudis Hand.-Mazz.

Primulaceae

Gou She Feng

Treating rheumatism, skin disease

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-004

4

Lysimachia barystachys Bunge

Primulaceae

 

Skin disease, stopping bleeding

Medicinal bath, external use

Whole plant

JH-210

4

Plantago asiatica L.

Primulaceae

Ma Guai Cao

Heat clearing and detoxifying, inducing diuresis, eliminating phlegm

Herbal tea

Whole plant

JH-018

4

Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze

Theaceae

 

Heat clearing, inducing diuresis, relieving cough, treating heatstroke

Medicinal bath, herbal tea

Tender leaf

JH-020

6

Symplocos paniculata Miq.

Symplocaceae

 

Heat clearing, treating rheumatism

Medicinal bath, decoction

Stem and leaf

JH-305

4

Gaultheria leucocarpa var. yunnanensis (Franch.) T. Z. Hsu & R. C. Fang

Ericaceae

Xia Shan Hu

Treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation, relaxing tendons and activating collaterals

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-082

4

Eucommia ulmoides Oliv.

Eucommiaceae

 

Nourishing, strengthening muscles and bones, miscarriage prevention

Medicinal bath

Bark

JH-205

4

Cephalanthus subspinosns (Roxb.) Ridsd. et Bakh. f.

Rubiaceae

 

Skin disease

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-125

3

Damnacanthus giganteus (Makino) Nakai

Rubiaceae

Xiu Hua Zhen

Nourishing, stopping bleeding

Herbal tea, decoction

Whole plant

JH-302

4

Damnacanthus indicus C. F. Gaertn.

Rubiaceae

Xiu Hua Zhen

Treating infantile malnutrition, nourishing, relieving pain, treating cold, treating hepatitis

Herbal tea, food (making soup)

Whole plant

JH-234

7

Hedyotis auricularia L.

Rubiaceae

Huang Shao

Heat clearing and detoxifying, treating gastrointestinal disease, relieving cough, treating cold, promoting blood circulation, skin disease, snake bite

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Leaf

JH-206

9

Paederia scandens (Lour.) Merr.

Rubiaceae

Ji Shi Teng

Treating rheumatism, promoting digest, heat clearing and detoxifying

Medicinal bath, herbal tea, decoction

Whole plant

JH-074

6

Serissa serissoides (DC.) Druce

Rubiaceae

 

Treating rheumatism, heat clearing and detoxifying, relaxing tendons and activating collaterals

Decoction, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-051

5

Uncaria rhynchophylla (Miq.) Miq. ex Havil.

Rubiaceae

Ying Zhao Feng

Treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation

Medicinal bath

Branch, leaf

JH-038

3

Adenium obesum (Forssk.) Roem.& Schult.

Apocynaceae

 

Treating gastrointestinal disease, treating gynopathy

External use

Flower

JH-268

3

Anodendron affine (Hook. & Arn.) Druce

Apocynaceae

 

Treating rheumatism

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-158

2

Cynanchum auriculatum Royle ex Wight

Apocynaceae

Niu Pi Dong

Skin disease

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-176

3

Cynanchum paniculatum (Bunge) Kitag.

Apocynaceae

Xu Chang Qin

Heat clearing, diminishing inflammation, relieving cough

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-278

5

Dischidia australis Tsiang et P. T. Li

Apocynaceae

 

Treating respiratory disease, skin disease, diminishing inflammation, treating arthritis

Herbal tea

Whole plant

JH-127

5

Dischidia chinensis Champ. ex Benth.

Apocynaceae

Shi Xin Zi

Heat clearing and detoxifying, reducing phlegm, treating infantile malnutrition

Food (stewing with meat)

Whole plant

JH-139

4

Marsdenia sinensis Hemsl.

Apocynaceae

Jiu Niu Teng

Treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation, treating heatstroke

Decoction

Stem

JH-151

4

Trachelospermum jasminoides (Lindl.) Lem.

Apocynaceae

Guo Qiang Feng

Treating rheumatism

Decoction, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-045

3

Argyreia acuta Lour.

Convolvulaceae

 

Skin disease

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-177

2

Cuscuta chinensis Lam.

Convolvulaceae

 

Nourishing

Herbal tea, food

Seed

JH-286

3

Dichondra repens J. R. Forst. & G. Forst.

Convolvulaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, expelling parasite

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-270

3

Petrocodon dealbatus var. dealbatus

Gesneriaceae

Bei Feng Fei Yang

Relieving cough

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-237

2

Buddleja lindleyana Fortune

Scrophulariaceae

Yang Wei Ba

Skin disease, treating skin itch

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-086

3

Andrographis paniculata (Burm.f.) Nees

Acanthaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, eliminating inflammation

Herbal tea

Whole plant

JH-141

3

Campsis grandiflora (Thunb.) K. Schum.

Bignoniaceae

Hong Hua Dao Shui Lian

Traumatic injury

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-034

3

Radermachera sinica (Hance) Hemsl.

Bignoniaceae

 

Heat clearing, treating venomous snake bite, sterilization

External use (leaf), medicinal bath

Root, leaf, fruit, branch

JH-009

5

Callicarpa pedunculata R. Br.

Verbenaceae

 

Skin disease

Medicinal bath

Stem, leaf

JH-160

2

Clerodendrum chinense (Osbeck) Mabb.

Verbenaceae

 

Treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation, relieving pain, heat clearing and detoxifying, improving digestion

Herbal tea

Root, leaf, whole plant

JH-164

6

Verbena officinalis L.

Verbenaceae

Tie Ma Bian

Treating rheumatism, treating venomous snake bite, heat clearing, promoting blood circulation, eliminating inflammation

Decoction, external use, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-135

8

Vitex negundo L.

Verbenaceae

Huang Jin Zi

Nourishing, relieving cough, reducing phlegm

Medicinal bath, food (stewing with meat)

Whole plant

JH-248

5

Clerodendrum cyrtophyllum Turcz.

Lamiaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, treating rheumatism

Decoction, medicinal bath

Root, leaf

JH-142

4

Leonurus japonicus Houtt.

Lamiaceae

Hong Hua Ai

Heat clearing

Herbal tea, medicinal bath, making soup

Whole plant

JH-075

3

Lycopus lucidus Turcz. ex Benth.

Lamiaceae

 

Treating rheumatism

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-033

2

Mentha canadensis L.

Lamiaceae

 

Treating cold, skin disease

Food (stewing with meat), medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-117

4

Mosla chinensis Maxim.

Lamiaceae

Xiao Ye Suo Cao

Preventing heatstroke, mosquitoes repelling

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-019

4

Perilla frutescens (L.) Britton

Lamiaceae

 

Detoxifying, treating respiratory disease, treating cold, invigorating stomach

Medicinal bath, food (stir-fry)

Stem, leaf, fruit

JH-023

5

Pogostemon auricularius (L.) Hassk.

Lamiaceae

Ye ji wei

Heat clearing, cleaning the wound

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-239

3

Prunella vulgaris L.

Lamiaceae

 

Improving eyesight, promoting blood circulation

Herbal tea

Fruit cluster, flower

JH-179

3

Scutellaria barbata D. Don

Lamiaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, inducing diuresis, treating cold

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-042

3

Stachys geobombycis C.Y. Wu

Lamiaceae

 

Detoxifying, treating gastrointestinal disease, traumatic injury, skin disease

Food

Whole plant, rhizome

JH-228

4

Codonopsis javanica (Blume) Hook.f. & Thomson

Campanulaceae

Nai Shen

Treating gastrointestinal disease, nourishing, relieving cough, treating gynopathy, treating infantile malnutrition

Food (stewing with meat)

Root

JH-154

6

Codonopsis lanceolata (Siebold & Zucc.) Benth. & Hook.f. ex Trautv.

Campanulaceae

Yang Ru

Tonic

Food (cooking with meat)

  

2

Ilex asprella (Hook. & Arn.) Champ. ex Benth. var. asprella

Aquifoliaceae

Cheng Xing Shu

Promoting blood circulation, clearing heat

Herbal tea, decoction, medicinal bath

Leaf, root

JH-303

5

Ilex chinensis Sims

Aquifoliaceae

 

Sterilization, promoting blood circulation

Leaf: medicinal bath; seed: making tincture, decoction; bark: decoction

Bark, leaf, root, seed

JH-182

6

Achillea millefolium L.

Asteraceae

Suan Ming Cao

Treating rheumatism, traumatic injury, treating gynopathy, snake bite

External use, decoction, medicinal bath

Leaf, flower

JH-016

7

Ageratum conyzoides L.

Asteraceae

Bai Hua Cao

Heat clearing and detoxifying, diminishing inflammation, stopping bleeding

External use

Whole plant

JH-257

4

Artemisia annua L.

Asteraceae

Qing Hao

Treating malaria, skin disease

Medicinal bath

Branches and leaves

JH-238

3

Artemisia argyi H. Lév. & Vaniot

Asteraceae

Ye Ai

Skin disease, treating gynopathy

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-005

4

Artemisia capillaris Thunb.

Asteraceae

 

Treating gastrointestinal disease, diminishing inflammation

Medicinal bath, decoction

Tender shoot, tender leaf

JH-062

4

Artemisia dubia Wall. ex Bess.

Asteraceae

 

Treating rheumatism, heat clearing and detoxifying, diminishing inflammation, expelling parasite

Decoction, external use, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-156

7

Artemisia princeps Pamp.

Asteraceae

 

Treating rheumatism, nourishing, treating gynopathy, diminishing inflammation, stopping bleeding

Decoction

Leaf

JH-245

6

Aster indicus var. indicus (L.) Sch.-Bip.

Asteraceae

Ji You Cai

Heat clearing, relieving cough

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-188

4

Aster tataricus L.f.

Asteraceae

Ji You Cha

Heat clearing

Herbal tea

Root

JH-003

2

Centipeda minima (L.) A. Braun & Asch.

Asteraceae

E Bu Shi Cao

Treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation, eliminating inflammation

Decoction, external use, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-162

6

Cirsium japonicum (Thunb.) Fisch. ex DC.

Asteraceae

Shan Luo Bo

Nourishing, treating gynopathy, promoting blood circulation, stopping bleeding, eliminating inflammation

Decoction, external use, medicinal bath

Whole plant, root

JH-215

8

Eupatorium chinense L.

Asteraceae

 

Treating rheumatism

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-150

2

Farfugium japonicum (L.) Kitam.

Asteraceae

 

Treating gynopathy, traumatic injury, relieving cough

Decoction, external use, medicinal bath

Root

JH-280

6

Gerbera anandria (L.) Sch.-Bip.

Asteraceae

Pu Di Ling

Treating hepatitis

Decoction,

Whole plant

JH-255

2

Gerbera piloselloides (L.) Cass.

Asteraceae

Pu Di Gen

Heat clearing, diminishing inflammation, treating infantile malnutrition

Decoction, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-223

5

Glebionis lavandulifolium (Fisch. ex Trautv.) Ling & Shih

Asteraceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-166

3

Glebionis morifolium (Ramat.) Tznel.

Asteraceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, treating rheumatism, improving eyesight

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Flower

JH-047

5

Grangea maderaspatana (L.) Poir.

Asteraceae

Gua Zi Cao

Heat clearing, treating incised wound

External use, herbal tea

Whole plant

JH-201

4

Gynura japonica (Thunb.) Juel

Asteraceae

 

Treating diabetes, treating infantile malnutrition, traumatic injury

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-137

4

Helianthus annuus L.

Asteraceae

 

Treating rheumatism

Medicinal bath

Flower

JH-152

2

Inula cappa (Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don) DC.

Asteraceae

Bai Mian Feng

Treating rheumatism, relieving pain, relieving cough, treating cold, eliminating phlegm

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-169

6

Inula japonica Thunb.

Asteraceae

 

Treating infantile malnutrition

Decoction

Root, leaf, flower

JH-172

2

Senecio scandens Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don

Asteraceae

Jiu Li Guang

Skin disease, improving eyesight, heat clearing and detoxifying

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-076

5

Viburnum odoratissimum Ker Gawl.

Adoxaceae

Jian Gu Feng

Treating rheumatic arthritis, traumatic injury

Herbal tea, food, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-035

4

Lonicera acuminata Wall.

Caprifoliaceae

Yin hua

Skin disease

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-186

2

Lonicera confusa (Sweet) DC.

Caprifoliaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying

Decoction

Flower, stem, leaf

JH-149

2

Lonicera hypoglauca Miq.

Caprifoliaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, promoting blood circulation

Medicinal bath

Flower bud, stem

JH-022

3

Lonicera japonica Thunb.

Caprifoliaceae

 

Heat clearing and detoxifying, promoting blood circulation

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Stem

JH-085

4

Lonicera reticulata Champ.

Caprifoliaceae

Yin hua

Skin disease

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-104

2

Pittosporum glabratum Lindl.

Pittosporaceae

Tie Liang San

Treating steaming bone

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Seed, skin

JH-173

3

Dendropanax dentigerus (Harms) Merr.

Araliaceae

Yin Yang Feng

Heat clearing and detoxifying, treating rheumatism, skin disease, relieving pain

Medicinal bath

Root, bark

JH-293

5

Eleutherococcus nodiflorus (Dunn) S. Y. Hu

Araliaceae

Wu Gu Gou

Nourishing

Food (stewing with chicken and soybean)

Root

JH-145

2

Eleutherococcus senticosus (Rupr. & Maxim.) Maxim.

Araliaceae

Wu Jia Pi

Nourishing

Medicinal bath

Leaf, root bark, stem

JH-288

2

Gamblea ciliata var. evodiifolia (Franch.) C. B. Shang, Lowry & Frodin

Araliaceae

Wu Zhao Feng

Treating rheumatism

Decoct, medicinal bath

Rhizome

JH-102

3

Hedera sinensis (Tobler) Hand.-Mazz.

Araliaceae

San Jiao Feng

Heat clearing and detoxifying, treating rheumatism, nourishing, relieving pain

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-010

5

Heteropanax fragrans (Roxb.) Seem.

Araliaceae

Ya Jiao Feng

Treating rheumatism

Herbal tea, food (making soup)

Bark, stem pith

JH-220

3

Kalopanax septemlobus (Thunb.) Koidz

Araliaceae

Shan Ku Di Feng

Treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation, relieving pain, traumatic injury

Medicinal bath

Bark, stem

JH-094

5

Panax japonicus (T. Nees) C. A. Mey.

Araliaceae

 

Nourishing, eliminating phlegm, stopping bleeding, relieving pain

Decoction

Rhizome

JH-244

5

Schefflera heptaphylla (L.) Frodin

Araliaceae

Ya Jiao Feng

Heat clearing and detoxifying, treating rheumatism, skin disease, relaxing tendons and activating collaterals

Decoction

Leaf, bark

JH-081

5

Bupleurum chinense DC.

Apiaceae

Tu Chai Hu

Diminishing inflammation, heat clearing, treating cold, treating fever

Herbal tea

Root

JH-030

5

Cryptotaenia japonica Hassk.

Apiaceae

Shui Qin Cai

Promoting blood circulation, skin disease, treating respiratory disease

Food, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-203

5

Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides Lam.

Apiaceae

 

Heat clearing, promoting digest, treating infantile malnutrition

Food, herbal tea, making soup

Whole plant

JH-060

6

Peucedanum guangxiense R. H. Shan & M. L. Sheh

Apiaceae

 

Treating cold, treating rheumatism

Decoction, medicinal bath

Root

JH-024

4

Sanicula chinensis Bunge

Apiaceae

Shan Qin Cai

Relieving cough, treating gastrointestinal disease, heat clearing, diminishing inflammation

Herbal tea

Whole plant

JH-025

5

Pinus massoniana Lamb.

Pinaceae

 

Treating rheumatism, relaxing tendons and activating collaterals

Medicinal bath

Branches and leaves

JH-212

3

Pteridophyta

Huperzia serrata (Thunb.) Trevis

Huperziaceae

Qian Ceng Ta

Promoting blood circulation, stopping bleeding, relieving pain, treating senile dementia, traumatic injury

External use

Whole plant

JH-049

6

Diphasiastrum complanatum (L.) Holub

Lycopodiaceae

Song Jin Cao

Traumatic injury, treating rheumatism

Medicinal bath, decoction

Whole plant

JH-297

4

Lycopodium japonicum Thunb.

Lycopodiaceae

Sheng Jin Cao

Treating rheumatism, relaxing tendons and activating collaterals

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-136

3

Phlegmariurus fargesii (Herter) Ching

Lycopodiaceae

 

Traumatic injury, treating rheumatism

Medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-039

3

Equisetum arvense L.

Equisetaceae

Jie Jie Cao

Stopping bleeding

Decoction, external use

Whole plant

JH-289

3

Equisetum ramosissimum subsp. debile (Roxb. ex Vaucher) Hauke

Equisetaceae

 

Improving eyesight, inducing diuresis

Decoction, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-197

4

Angiopteris fokiensis Hieron.

Angiopteridaceae

Xiao Ma Ti

Heat clearing and detoxifying, promoting blood circulation, relieving pain

Decoction, external use

Rhizome

JH-222

5

Lygodium japonicum (Thunb.) Sw.

Lygodiaceae

Tie Xian Cao

Inducing diuresis, treating calculus, treating rheumatism

Medicinal bath; decoction

Spore, whole plant

JH-216

5

Lygodium scandens (L.) Sw.

Lygodiaceae

 

Heat clearing, inducing diuresis, relieving pain

Spore: decoction; medicinal bath

Spore, whole plant

JH-204

6

Cibotium barometz (L.) J. Sm.

Dicksoniaceae

Jin Gou Zi

Stopping bleeding

External use

Hair

JH-299

2

Alsophila spinulosa (Wall. ex Hook.) Tryon

Cyatheaceae

Long Gu Feng

Treating rheumatism, promoting blood circulation, strengthening muscles and bones

Medicinal bath

Stem

JH-229

4

Pteris multifida Poir.

Pteridaceae

Feng Wei Cao

Heat clearing and detoxifying, traumatic injury, treating gastrointestinal disease

Root: external use; food; medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-008

6

Aleuritopteris argentea (Gmel.) Fée

Sinopteridaceae

Huo Shao Cao

Treating gynopathy, nourishing, treating empyrosis

External use

Whole plant

JH-250

4

Davallia mariesii T. Moore ex Baker

Davalliaceae

 

Traumatic injury

External use

Rhizome

JH-073

2

Lepidogrammitis drymoglossoides (Baker) Ching

Polypodiaceae

Pa Shan Hu

Heat clearing and detoxifying, inducing diuresis, stopping bleeding

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-057

4

Lepidogrammitis rostrata (Bedd.) Ching

Polypodiaceae

Bao Shu Lian

Treating infantile malnutrition, promoting digest

Making soup

Whole plant

JH-105

3

Lepisorus thunbergianus (Kaulf.) Ching

Polypodiaceae

 

Heat clearing, inducing diuresis, relieving cough

Decoction

Whole plant

JH-116

4

Microsorum fortunei (T. Moore) Ching

Polypodiaceae

Qi Xing Jian

Treating rheumatism

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-059

3

Pyrrosia lingua (Thunb.) Farw.

Polypodiaceae

 

Traumatic injury

Medicinal bath, external use

Leaf

JH-056

3

Pseudodrynaria coronans (Wall. ex Mett.) Ching

Drynariaceae

Bi Shan Hu

Treating rheumatism, nourishing, relaxing tendons and activating collaterals, traumatic injury

Decoction, medicinal bath

Rhizome

JH-183

6

Lichenes

Usnea diffracta Vain

Usneaceae

Song Jin Teng

Treating rheumatism

Herbal tea, food, medicinal bath

Whole plant

JH-147

4

The order of plant species in this table is followed by the APG IV system, gymnosperms classification system (1978), and Qinrenchang fern plant classification system (1978)

Results and discussion

Diversity and characteristics of medicinal plants

By conducting field surveys at the Dragon Boat Festival marketplace in Jianghua in 2016 and 2017, 306 species belonging to 249 genera and 113 families were recorded and identified (Table 1). The taxonomic statistics clearly demonstrate the plant species biodiversity present in this Yao community market. The plant family with the most species represented was Asteraceae (23 species). Fabaceae (Leguminosae) was the second most common plant family with 15 species while Primulaceae and Lamiaceae were the third and fourth largest plant families with 11 and 10 species, respectively. Regarding plant genera, most of genera had three or fewer species represented, except for the genera Artemisia and Ardisia (Table 1). Seven species of Ardisia were found in the marketplace, while five species of Artemisia were present. The genus Ardisia, which contains a large number of medicinal species, has more than a 900-year history of clinical use in China. Some Ardisia species are common ingredients of traditional Chinese medicine formulas and Chinese folk medicines, including all the Ardisia species identified in the Jianghua medicinal market.

Compared to the previous study by Liu [15] 15 years ago, the plant species number recorded in the current study has almost tripled, which indicates that the medicinal market in Jianghua has grown considerably. This change seems to be in paradox to the loss of traditional knowledge under the impact of rapid economic development. One of the reasons for the increase in plant diversity in the marketplace might be the improved transportation and living conditions in remote areas, which makes collection easier and helps to facilitate communication among different ethnic people and thus enhances the marketplace experience. On the contrary, elder informants (> 50 years old) could provide Yao names (Table 1) to only 173 plant species (56%). The local people used Mandarin Chinese instead of the Yao language to identify many of the medicinal plants in this survey. This phenomenon might partially reflect the gradual disappearance of the local medicine-associated knowledge. It could also be the result of merging of different medicinal culture from different groups of people. The Yao language, as a spoken language without traditional characters, can only be memorized and transmitted by humans; this might also explain the loss of local Yao language which leads to the lack of Yao names of medicinal plants.

Plant parts used as medicine

The statistics of using parts of medicinal plants traded in the market are summarized (Table 2). Using whole plants is the most frequent method with 140 species, while using roots is the second one with 67 species. Using plant leaves (48 species) and stems (33 species) are less common. Normally, the local people traded leafed branches to use in medicinal baths according to our observations. The local people prefer to use fresh medicinal plants, and thus, the aerial parts of the plants were more abundant than roots in the marketplace.
Table 2

The used parts of medicinal plants traded in the market in Jianghua

Plant part

Records

Percentage

Plant part

Records

Percentage

Root

67

21.9

Fruit

18

5.9

Stem (branches)

33

10.8

Seed

6

2.0

Leaf

48

15.7

Rhizome

27

8.8

Stem pith

3

1.0

Bark

14

4.6

Flower

14

4.6

Whole plant

140

45.8

Regarding the plant parts used with their modality categories, (1) medicinal baths are the most common modality used by the Yao people which mostly use the leaves and the branches; (2) the reasons for using root, fruit, and flowers were quite diverse, including almost all modality categories; (3) most of the rhizomes were used for medicine, taking medicinal baths, or making herbal teas.

Most of the seeds from six species in total are edible. For example, the seeds of Ilex chinensis can be used for brewing. The seeds of some species like Cuscuta chinensis, Gleditsia sinensis, and Pittosporum glabratum can be used to make tea. The seeds of Combretum indicum, Cuscuta chinensis, and Senna tora can be cooked with other ingredients into a dish.

Medicinal uses of plants

The medicinal uses of plants traded in the market are also various, with 27 types (Table 1). The top ten therapeutic medicinal uses are listed in Table 3. These ten medicinal uses reflect the most frequent physical ailments closely attributed to local climate, environment, and the type of work [20].
Table 3

The top ten medicinal uses of medicinal plants in the Yao marketplace in Jianghua

Medicinal uses

Records

Percentage

Medicinal uses

Records

Percentage

Treating rheumatism

106

34.6

Nourishing

45

14.7

Clearing heat

103

33.7

Treating traumatic injury

39

12.8

Detoxification

82

26.8

Relieving pain

33

10.8

Promoting blood circulation

57

18.6

Relieving cough

33

10.8

Treating skin diseases

45

14.7

Stopping bleeding

26

8.5

Most local Yao people living in humid and highland areas are engaged in heavy physical work for a living throughout the year [15], and thus, it is not surprising that rheumatism is the number one disorder in local communities. Remarkably, almost one third of the species (106) can be used to treat rheumatism. The cold and skin diseases are also common ailments in such an environment. Herbal medicine for skin diseases and relieving cough are important and frequently used. According to traditional Yao medicinal theory, a cold and humid environment will cause the closure of pores. The heat inside the human body cannot be excreted out on time, and thus, the balance of yin and yang will be broken and cause sickness. In order to solve this problem, local people use many different herbs to clear inner heat (33.7%) or detoxification (26.8%, relieving internal heat or fever). Moreover, it is much easier to have injuries when doing heavy physical work in mountainous environment. Herbal medicinal plants for treating traumatic injury, relieving pain, and stopping bleeding comprise a large part of the medicinal market. Herbs for nourishing and promoting blood circulation also comprise a large part of the market because they can effectively help local people to recover from injuries.

Yao medicine is renowned for being good at treating rheumatism and gynecological diseases [21]. One of our former studies found that red-headed Yao women like to use herbs like Aeschynanthus bracteatus, Celosia argentea, and Sabia fasciculata to make decoctions for medicinal baths so that they can return to farming work as soon as a week after giving birth [22]. Those herbs are believed to have very good anti-inflammatory and tonic effectiveness by local people. In the present study, no medicinal plant was mentioned for postpartum recovery or gynecological diseases by local people. Most of the herbs for nourishment or pain relief like Amomum villosum, Anemarrhena asphodeloides, Vitex negundo, and Saururus chinensis are regarded to be good for women according to local people.

Modalities of medicinal plants

Eight categories of modalities of medicinal plants about the market were recorded. About 60% of plant species were used for medicinal baths, making it the most common traditional medicinal modality. Medicinal baths are a characteristic custom for the Yao ethnic group. When having a medicinal bath, the skin, as the largest human organ, can be fully exposed to the medicinal bath water so that certain medicinally useful molecules can be absorbed that way [23, 24]. The heat of the water can also stimulate the blood capillaries and lymph vessels to expand and promote blood circulation and metabolism [23, 24]. There are many aromatic plants used in medicinal baths like Gaultheria leucocarpa var. yunnanensis. The heat of the bath water can accelerate the volatile molecules to evaporate from medicinal plants, which can be absorbed by breathing and also strengthen the effectiveness of medicine [4].

Based on our investigation, one or more species of medicinal plants are typically immersed in hot water for bathing. The Yao people do not have settled formulas and precise amounts of medicinal plants for these baths. They usually put the plants with similar pharmacological efficacy together to enhance their effects. These Yao formulas have not been well studied scientifically, and side effects are not well documented. Therefore, further phytochemical, pharmacological, and clinical tests are needed to determine the safety and efficacy of these traditional practices [4].

Besides medicinal baths, other modality categories of medicinal plants include decoctions, teas, food and spices, tinctures, crushed or burnt, and externally applied. Decoctions are the second most common modality category (Table 4) with 106 species (34.6%). It is also one of the most common ways that traditional Chinese medicines are used. People usually use water to decoct the medicinal plant for a long time and finally take the decoction to treat certain illnesses. Making herbal tea and cooking is the third (79 spp., 25.8%) and fourth (44 spp., 14.4%) processing methods, respectively. It is noteworthy that the great majority of medicinal plants for food are used for infant malnutrition. More than 10% of the medicinal species are externally applied which is mostly for treating traumatic injuries. Local people usually crush these herbs and put on the wound to stop bleeding, diminish inflammation, relieve pain, and accelerate recovery.
Table 4

The modality of medicinal plants in the market in Jianghua

Modality

Records

Percentage

Modality

Records

Percentage

Medicinal bath

179

58.5

External use

36

11.8

Decoction

106

34.6

Tincture

11

3.6

Tea

79

25.8

Spice

2

Food

44

14.4

Burnt

1

Seeds of Gleditsia sinensis can be used incinerated to treat skin diseases like itching (it can also be used by decoction and medicinal bath). Several studies revealed that the chemical constituents extracted from Gleditsia sinensis showed good anti-bacterial, anti-allergy, anti-inflammatory, and anti-proliferative bioactivities [2527]. The incineration process is unique: the local people typically use a flame to burn the Gleditsia sinensis seeds. Then, they hold a steel knife and make sure the blade is on the top of both the flame and the seeds to collect the soot, and it will be scraped off the blade and painted on the afflicted part of the patient. Besides the Yao people in Hunan Province, the Dong people in Guangxi Region also use this incineration method to treat illnesses. According to our previous study on the medicinal market in Guangxi Province (unpublished), the Dong people use the same method to incinerate certain poisonous plants like the root of Alangium chinense, the whole herb of Macleaya cordata, and the root of Tripterygium wilfordii. This method is thought to detoxify these poisonous plants, according to some Dong practitioners.

Frequency of occurrence and RI index of some medicinal plants

The frequency of occurrence of each medicinal herb was recorded. This frequency signifies how many stalls sold a particular medicinal plant species. Some plant species were more frequently found than others (Fig. 2). Most species are used for clearing the inner heat and treating rheumatism. These results (Fig. 2) suggest that (1) the plants are widely distributed in local habitats and may be relatively easier to access; (2) the plants may have comparatively better effectiveness than the others so that they are more popular among local communities; and (3) inner heat and rheumatism are common problems for local people confirming the result from Table 3. High demands for those herbs and their effectiveness might be the major reasons leading to the high frequency of occurrence about the medicinal market.
Fig. 2
Fig. 2

The frequency of occurrence of some medicinal plants in Jianghua County

The relative importance index is used to reflect the comprehensive utilization value [19]. The species with RI index greater than 0.4 are listed in Table 5. The modality types of these species are more various than other species. Most of them are edible and may be cooked as food and made into herbal tea or medicinal tincture. This character of being both edible and therapeutic indicated that these plants (Table 5) might be safer to humans with fewer side effects. Another reason for the relatively high RI index is that those species are easily acquired in local habitats and thereby make them more. The species themselves are locally widespread. For example, Hedyotis auricularia, Cirsium japonicum, and Verbena officinalis can be easily found on the roadsides and in the fields. Gleditsia sinensis, Damnacanthus indicus, and Ardisia japonica often appear in both wild and home gardens according to our observations. According to our interviews, almost everyone, including both vendors and local residents, can distinguish these species (Table 5). These species listed in Table 5 have high value in use with good potential for future development.
Table 5

The medicinal plants with higher RI

Name

Medicinal effectiveness type

Modalities

RI

Cirsium japonicum (Thunb.) Fisch. ex DC.

Nourishing, treating gynopathy, promoting blood circulation, stopping bleeding, eliminating inflammation

Decoction, external use, medicinal bath

0.49

Verbena officinalis L.

Treating rheumatism, treating venomous snake bite, heat clearing, promoting blood circulation, eliminating inflammation

Decoction, external use, medicinal bath

0.49

Achillea millefolium L.

Treating rheumatism, traumatic injury, treating gynopathy, snake bite

External use; decoction water; medicinal bath

0.47

Rotala rotundifolia (Buch.-Ham. ex Roxb.) Koehne

Heat clearing, traumatic injury, treating snake bite, skin disease

Decoction, external use, medicinal bath

0.47

Pterospermum heterophyllum Hance

Treating rheumatism, relaxing tendons and activating collaterals, relieving pain, treating arthritis,

Herbal tea, medicinal bath, food (stew with chicken)

0.47

Agrimonia pilosa Ledeb

Treating gastrointestinal disease, diminishing inflammation, stopping bleeding, treating heatstroke

Medicinal bath, medicine, herbal tea

0.47

Artemisia dubia Wall. ex Bess.

Treating rheumatism, heat clearing and detoxifying, diminishing inflammation, expelling parasite

Decoction, external use, medicinal bath

0.47

Hedyotis auricularia L.

Heat clearing and detoxifying, treating gastrointestinal disease, relieving cough, treating cold, promoting blood circulation, skin disease, snake bite

Herbal tea, medicinal bath

0.40

Achillea millefolium L.

Treating rheumatism, traumatic injury, treating gynopathy, snake bite

External use, decoction water, medicinal bath

0.47

Demographics of vendors

Most vendors are Yao mountain people, and they can access many wild medicinal plants easily. However, in most cases, only elder vendors can speak the Yao language while the younger generation only speaks Mandarin Chinese or other local dialects because of the education and cultural fusion brought by the rapidly changing society and vigorous construction in the rural area. The age and gender of vendors have been recorded and analyzed (Table 6). The age range for vendors was 22–83 years old. The number of vendors older than 50 years old accounts for about 70% among all vendors. Those between 50 and 59 are the most with 90 (32.6%) people. The age composition for all vendors is slightly aging, but there are still many younger vendors, especially in 30–49 years old. Vendors younger than 30 years old are only 12 people (4.4%). This age composition reflects the succession problem of local traditional knowledge of Yao medicinal plants.
Table 6

The demographics of vendors

 

20–29

30–39

40–49

50–59

60–69

70–79

> 80

Total

A

M

W

M

W

M

W

M

W

M

W

M

W

M

W

 

B

8

4

20

8

24

14

44

46

16

28

32

32

0

2

276

C

12

28

36

90

44

64

2

276

D

4.35

10.14

13.04

32.61

15.94

23.19

0.73

100%

A ganders, B number of people, C number of people in different age groups, D percentages

As for the gender structure of the vendors, the number of men and women older than 50 years old is about equal. But under 50 years old, the number of men is twice the number of women. It is probably because that women dedicate themselves to housework, childcare, keeping livestock, and farmyard management while the men more commonly collect wild medicinal herbs in the high mountains. The interviews with the young vendors also showed that collecting the wild medicinal plants and selling them were considered only a temporary job. Much of the work collecting plants is done by the older generation and sold by the youngers who have other steady jobs. It was also found that the medicinal plants sold by elder vendors generally showed more botanical diversity but were gathered in relatively smaller amounts, while the plants sold by younger vendors were less diverse botanically but in larger amounts. These differences indicated that elder vendors master more traditional medicinal knowledge than younger vendors while younger vendors have more energy to search larger areas to collect larger amounts of wild medicinal plants. All these research findings suggest that the local traditional Yao medicine-associated knowledge is gradually decreasing.

The medicinal market in the Dragon Boat Festival in Jianghua is in a relatively large-scale venue with 269 stalls or vendors according to our investigations. Such a big traditional medicinal market appears at present time with well-developed Western medicine indicating that local people have a rich traditional knowledge of herbal medicine and depend upon it. However, most of the medicinal plants are not expensive, and the profit margin is slim. The fact that the vendors are still willing to come even if it is hard to collect the plants and time consuming suggests that they believe this is not only just for obtaining income but also following their tradition and even a way to celebrate the birthday of the Yao Medicinal Lord. As for the buyers, almost everyone in each age group knows a lot about medicinal plants. It demonstrates that the traditional knowledge of medicinal plants is widespread in the Yao community. The speed of the disappearance of related traditional knowledge gets much slower which is closely due to the medicinal markets in festival days which have played a great role of knowledge sharing in local community.

Conservation of Yao medicinal knowledge

The traditional knowledge of Yao medicine is apparently decreasing. For instance, local people only have medicinal baths on the important festivals including the Dragon Boat Festival, the Double Ninth Festival, and the Panwang Festival nowadays. But they used to take a medicinal bath once a day in the past, according to local people. Less frequent practices will partially make it harder to keep such knowledge. The demographics of vendors and the incomplete vernacular names of medicinal plants also reflected this truth on other aspects. Even though a modern writing system of Yao language has been created, most of the Yao people in Jianghua still prefer spoken tradition since they receive Mandarin education beginning in primary school. The lack of a widely adopted writing system of the Yao language is a vulnerability for knowledge transfer [28].

As for the conservation of Jianghua traditional medicinal knowledge, the biggest challenge is apparently the shortage of professional personnel. One problem is that the Yao youth do not know enough about traditional Yao medicine and they are not confident about it [16]. By the impact of modern Western medicine, some local people prefer to use faster and more precise methods instead of their own traditional practices [29]. In addition, although the old masters of Yao medicine are dying out, the young people are not willing to study it or make it as a livelihood because it is not enough for feeding the family [15]. Nowadays, the Chinese government has recognized ethnomedicine and published a series of policies to support their protection and development after the foundation of the whole country [30, 31]. However, it is still urgent to cultivate more professional talents in the field of ethnomedicine by issuing more preferential policies and funds. It is necessary and helpful to normalize Yao doctors, to systemize the Yao medicinal theory, and to publish accompanying textbooks as well as other academic books.

The conservation of local medicinal plant resources is also quite important especially the conservation of rare and endangered plant species. The maintaining of the biodiversity is the material insurance for the development of relative traditional knowledge. Some endangered plant species were observed being traded about the Jianghua medicinal market like Cibotium barometz, Alsophila spinulosa, Dendrobium officinale, and Semiliquidambar cathayensis [32]. The stem and bark area of Semiliquidambar cathayensis is a very popular and effective traditional medicine for rheumatism locally. According to our surveys, the trading volume of Semiliquidambar cathayensis stem is large, and this plant material was all collected from the wild. Large-scale collection of plant resources will damage the local biodiversity and finally affect the stability of the local ecosystem.

The medicinal market in the Dragon Boat Festival in Jianghua County is a significant cultural event. Using its fame to develop tourism and attract businesses and investment may bring considerable money, but extreme care must be taken not to do any harm to local biodiversity and cultural diversity [33, 34].

In such a beneficial environment with the support by the government, it is an opportunity for local government agencies to improve better development of the medicinal market. Based on this investigation and others, the local government should consider protecting and developing the medicinal market to provide a better environment for vendors and buyers. The training of young personnel will strongly support the sustainable development of Yao medicine. In the meanwhile, the local government can also support the practitioners to exploit related by-products and apply for patents, even combining with poverty alleviation. Additionally, the local biodiversity and biological resources especially some endangered species should be protected by issuing conservation regulations or laws and by popularizing the green and sustainable awareness among local people.

Conclusion

The herbal medicinal market is an important traditional activity celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival in Jianghua County, China. The formation and development of this special market is not only closely involved with local social history, but also local natural environment. As an herb trading site, this market plays an important role in the local community for medicinal knowledge exchange and heritage.

The result of our study showed the rich taxonomic diversity of medicinal plants and the diversity of their medicinal parts, medicinal uses, and modality categories. Based on our investigations, 306 species (belonging to 113 families and 249 genera) were recorded. The taxonomic distribution of those medicinal herbs clearly demonstrates the taxonomic diversity of the marketplaces. The whole plants have been used most frequently. Treating rheumatism and clearing inner heat are the most frequent symptoms addressed by these local healers. Medicinal baths are a special tradition in Jianghua County and account for the most common modality of the medicinal herbs. It is important to use modern scientific methods to verify the safety and efficacy of these traditional practices.

Although our analysis of the vendors reflected the predicament of losing traditional knowledge, some results are still promising like the species richness at the medicinal market, the local popularity of medicinal plant use, and the positive attitude to the traditional Yao medicine by local youths. These positive phenomena are associated with the medicinal market in some level, and it might provide a valuable reference for other places to sustainably develop local traditional medicine. The cultivation of relevant talents and maintaining the local biodiversity may be viable solutions to further develop traditional Yao medicine in Jianghua. Based on this investigation, and taking modern Yao culture into consideration, some proposals for improved construction, the protection of the medicinal market on the Dragon Boat Festival, and the traditional medicinal knowledge have been made.

Declarations

Acknowledgements

We are very grateful to the local people in Jianghua County, Hunan Province, who have provided valuable information about the medicinal plants in the medicinal market.

Funding

This work was supported by the Key Laboratory of Ethnomedicine (Minzu University of China) of the Ministry of Education of China (KLEM-ZZ201806), National Natural Science Foundation of China (31870316, 31761143001, and 31161140345), Minzu University of China (Collaborative Innovation Center for Ethnic Minority Development and YLDXXK201819), and Ministry of Education of China and State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs of China (B08044).

Availability of data and materials

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article and its supplementary information files.

Authors’ contributions

LCL conceived of and designed the study. LCL, LYJ, LB, LBS, LSZ, ZBX, LCR, LY, and GZY conducted data collection. LBS and ZLH integrated the inventory and its analysis. LCL, LCR, LY, and LB identified the plants. LBS and LYJ wrote the manuscript. EJK edited the English and provided helpful comments as well. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

Not applicable.

Consent for publication

Not applicable.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Publisher’s Note

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Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Key Laboratory of Ethnomedicine (Minzu University of China), Ministry of Education, Beijing, 100081, China
(2)
College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Minzu University of China, Beijing, 100081, China
(3)
Key Laboratory of Modern Agricultural Equipment and Technology, Ministry of Education, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, 212013, Jiangsu, China
(4)
Guangxi Institute of Botany, Guangxi Region and Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guilin, 541006, China
(5)
Lehman College, City University of New York, Bronx, New York, 10468, USA
(6)
Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, 650201, China

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Copyright

© The Author(s). 2018

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