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      Ethnomedicinal Plant Knowledge of the Karen in Thailand

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          Abstract

          The Thai Karen, the largest hill-tribe in Thailand, guard substantial ethnomedicinal plant knowledge, as documented in several studies that targeted single villages. Here, we have compiled information from all the reliable and published sources to present a comprehensive overview of the Karen ethnomedicinal plant knowledge. Our dataset covers 31 Karen villages distributed over eight provinces in Thailand. We used the Cultural Importance Index (CI) to determine which species were the most valuable to the Karen and the Informant Consensus Factor (ICF) to evaluate how well distributed the knowledge of ethnomedicinal plants was in various medicinal use categories. In the 31 Karen villages, we found 3188 reports of ethnomedicinal plant uses of 732 species in 150 plant families. Chromolaena odorata, Biancaea sappan, and Tinospora crispa were the most important medicinal plants, with the highest CI values. The Leguminosae, Asteraceae, Zingiberaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Lamiaceae, Acanthaceae, Apocynaceae, and Menispermaceae were the families with the highest CI values in the mentioned order. A high proportion of all the 3188 Karen use reports were used to treat digestive, general and unspecified, musculoskeletal, and skin disorders.

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          Most cited references 29

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          Mapping human genetic diversity in Asia.

          Asia harbors substantial cultural and linguistic diversity, but the geographic structure of genetic variation across the continent remains enigmatic. Here we report a large-scale survey of autosomal variation from a broad geographic sample of Asian human populations. Our results show that genetic ancestry is strongly correlated with linguistic affiliations as well as geography. Most populations show relatedness within ethnic/linguistic groups, despite prevalent gene flow among populations. More than 90% of East Asian (EA) haplotypes could be found in either Southeast Asian (SEA) or Central-South Asian (CSA) populations and show clinal structure with haplotype diversity decreasing from south to north. Furthermore, 50% of EA haplotypes were found in SEA only and 5% were found in CSA only, indicating that SEA was a major geographic source of EA populations.
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            Medicinal plant knowledge and its erosion among the Mien (Yao) in northern Thailand.

            We studied local knowledge and actual uses of medicinal plants among the Mien in northern Thailand, documenting traditional medical practices and its transfer between generations. With the assumption that discrepancies between knowledge and actual use represent knowledge erosion, we studied whether actual use of medicinal plants corresponded to people's knowledge of such uses. We used local knowledge from four specialist informants as the domain for semi-structured interviews with 34 randomly selected non-specialist informants. We calculated informant consensus, use value, and fidelity level for each species and use category and performed statistical analyses with Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests, Pearson correlation coefficient, Spearman's rank correlation coefficient, and paired-sample t-tests. We found significant discrepancies between knowledge and actual use of medicinal plants. The number of known and actually used plants increased with increasing informant age and decreased with increasing years of formal education. Medicinal plant knowledge and use in these Mien communities is undergoing inter-generational erosion because of acculturation and interrupted knowledge transmission. Preservation of Mien medicinal plant intellectual heritage requires continued documentation concerning use, conservation, and sustainable management of this resource, which should be publicized to younger Mien.
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              Forgetting the Forest: Assessing Medicinal Plant Erosion in Eastern Brazil

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Plants (Basel)
                Plants (Basel)
                plants
                Plants
                MDPI
                2223-7747
                29 June 2020
                July 2020
                : 9
                : 7
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Pharmaceutical Botany, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand; methee.phu@ 123456mahidol.edu
                [2 ]Sireeruckhacharti Nature Learning Park, Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom 73170, Thailand
                [3 ]Department of Biology, Faculty of Natural Science, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark; henrik.balslev@ 123456bios.au.dk
                [4 ]Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand; rapeeporn_ka@ 123456cmu.ac.th (R.K.); sukhumaabhorn_kaew@ 123456cmu.ac.th (S.K.)
                [5 ]Research Center in Bioresources for Agriculture, Industry and Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
                Author notes
                Article
                plants-09-00813
                10.3390/plants9070813
                7412177
                32610436
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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