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      An ethnobotanical study on medicinal plants of Shexian Dryland Stone Terraced System in northern China


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          Shexian Dryland Stone Terraced System (SDSTS) in the Taihang Mountains was formally recognized as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) by Food and Agriculture Organization on May 20, 2022. People there have been relying on the terraced fields for centuries, using various plants, including medicinal plants. However, little information was reported about the flora in SDSTS, nor medicinal plants. Thus, the present study aims to identify and document medicinal plants traditionally used by the local people living around the SDSTS and associated ethnobotanical knowledge.


          We conducted investigations in Shexian County, Hebei Province, North China, where SDSTS is distributed. Then, Wangjinzhuang, a community located in the core zone of SDSTS, was chosen as the case site. We selected the informants through purposive and snowball sampling. The data were collected through semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and key informant interviews. The medicinal plants traditionally used by the local people were documented and analyzed. We examined and confirmed the botanical identification based on voucher specimens and by cross-checking the descriptions with the series of books, scientific papers on medicinal plants, and the plant databases.


          The local people have rich traditional knowledge to collect and use medicinal plants in SDSTS. Records of 123 medicinal plant species belonging to 51 families were obtained from SDSTS. Asteraceae was represented by 16 species, followed by Fabaceae, Lamiaceae and Ranunculaceae. (They all have 8 species.) The majority of the reported plant species were commonly processed into decoctions. And 180 diseases affecting humans were reported to be treated with traditional medicinal plants from SDSTS.


          It is the first ethnobotanical study on medicinal plants in China-Nationally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems, and in globally important agricultural heritage systems as well. Medicinal plants are crucial for people living in Shexian County. It is necessary to recognize and respect traditional knowledge peculiar to the mountainous region of northern China, especially for those involved in the human–nature interaction and the role of knowledge in agrobiodiversity conservation and rural development that local residents have persisted for centuries.

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          Most cited references40

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          Utilizing and conserving agrobiodiversity in agricultural landscapes

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            Evaluation of bioactive properties and phenolic compounds in different extracts prepared from Salvia officinalis L.

            The therapeutic benefits of medicinal plants are well known. Nevertheless, essential oils have been the main focus of antioxidant and antimicrobial studies, remaining scarce the reports with hydrophilic extracts. Thus, the antioxidant and antifungal activities of aqueous (prepared by infusion and decoction) and methanol/water (80:20, v/v) extracts of sage (Salvia officinalis L.) were evaluated and characterised in terms of phenolic compounds. Decoction and methanol/water extract gave the most pronounced antioxidant and antifungal properties, being positively related with their phenolic composition. The highest concentration of phenolic compounds was observed in the decoction, followed by methanol/water extract and infusion. Fungicidal and/or fungi static effects proved to be dependent on the extracts concentration. Overall, the incorporation of sage decoction in the daily diet or its use as a complement for antifungal therapies, could provide considerable benefits, also being an alternative to sage essential oils that can display some toxic effects.
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              Harvest Security and Intraspecific Diversity in Traditional Tropical Agriculture


                Author and article information

                long@mail.kib.ac.cn , long.chunlin@muc.edu.cn
                J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
                J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
                Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
                BioMed Central (London )
                14 October 2022
                14 October 2022
                : 18
                : 62
                [1 ]GRID grid.411077.4, ISNI 0000 0004 0369 0529, Key Laboratory of Ecology and Environment in Minority Areas (Minzu University of China), , National Ethnic Affairs Commission, ; Beijing, 100081 China
                [2 ]GRID grid.411077.4, ISNI 0000 0004 0369 0529, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, , Minzu University of China, ; Beijing, 100081 China
                [3 ]Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of Shexian, Hebei Province Shexian, 056400 China
                [4 ]GRID grid.419897.a, ISNI 0000 0004 0369 313X, Key Laboratory of Ethnomedicine (Minzu University of China), , Ministry of Education, ; Beijing, 100081 China
                [5 ]GRID grid.411077.4, ISNI 0000 0004 0369 0529, Institute of National Security Studies, , Minzu University of China, ; Beijing, 100081 China
                © The Author(s) 2022

                Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. 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 in a credit line to the data.

                : 16 August 2022
                : 26 September 2022
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001809, National Natural Science Foundation of China;
                Award ID: 31761143001 and 31870316
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100013801, Minzu University of China;
                Award ID: 2022GJAQ04, 2022ZDPY10 and 2020MDJC03
                Award Recipient :
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                © The Author(s) 2022

                Health & Social care
                Health & Social care


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