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Ethnobotanical survey of cooling herbal drinks from southern China.

Liu Y, Ahmed S, Long C - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2013)

Bottom Line: However, there is a knowledge gap on the plant species used and commercialized for cooling herbal drinks in southern China and their associated ethnobotanical use, habitat and conservation status.This is the first study to document plant species used and commercialized as liáng chá in southern China's Lingnan region and associated ethnomedical function, preparation methods, habitat and conservation status.Future research on safety and efficacy of herbal drinks as well as ecological and cultural conservation efforts are needed for the sustainable growth of China's botanical industry.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Minzu University of China, Beijing 100081, China. long@mail.kib.ac.cn.

ABSTRACT

Background: Liáng chá ("cooling tea", "herbal tea" or "cool tisane" in Chinese) are herbal drinks widely produced in southern China and consumed by billions of people worldwide to prevent and treat internal heat as well as a range of associated health conditions. Globalization and renewed interest in botanical remedies has attracted growing attention in cooling herbal drinks by industry, scientists and consumers. However, there is a knowledge gap on the plant species used and commercialized for cooling herbal drinks in southern China and their associated ethnobotanical use, habitat and conservation status. This is the first study to document plant species used and commercialized as liáng chá in southern China's Lingnan region and associated ethnomedical function, preparation methods, habitat and conservation status.

Methods: Three hundred market surveys were conducted between 2010-2012 in the largest herbal drink producing region of China to record plants used for liáng chá and to document knowledge on their medicinal function, habitat and conservation status. Product samples and voucher specimens were collected for taxonomic identification.

Results: All informants harvest and cultivate plants for preparing herbal drinks for their medicinal, cultural and economic values. A total of 222 ethnotaxa corresponded to 238 botanical taxa (species, varieties or subspecies) belonging to 86 families and 209 genera were recorded as liáng chá to treat health conditions in the study area. Recorded remedies consisted of one or several plant species to treat conditions classified into 27 major health conditions with clearing internal heat being the most common medicinal function. The habitat types of plants documented for use as liáng chá include 112 wild harvested species, 51 species that are either wild harvested or cultivated, 57 cultivated species, and 2 naturalized species. According to China's Red List and CITES on conservation status, one of these species is endangered, one species is critically endangered, eight species are vulnerable, one is listed in CITES II, three are listed in Regional Red Data Book and the remaining 224 species are in the least concerned conservation category.

Conclusions: The liáng chá industry of southern China reflects the plant species richness and cultural diversity of the region. Future research on safety and efficacy of herbal drinks as well as ecological and cultural conservation efforts are needed for the sustainable growth of China's botanical industry.

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Plant parts used as herbal drinks.
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Figure 3: Plant parts used as herbal drinks.

Mentions: A total of 238 species from 86 families and 209 genera were recorded for use in liáng chá, or cooling herbal tisanes, or herbal drinks, in the Lingnan region. Some of them are weeds, in traditional medicinal floras has been overlooked, because widely utilized medicinal plants need to be abundant and accessible, rare plants are not often found in medicinal floras [6]. The most prevalent botanical family represented in the collections was the Asteraceae with 21 species followed by Poaceae with 13 species and Lamiaceae with 12 species (Figure 2). The documented cooling herbal drinks consisted of a range of plant parts including leaf, root, fruit, flower, branch, bud, pollen, stigma, pith, bulb, tuber, kernel, stem, peel, aerial part, seed, bark and rhizome from herbaceous and woody plants. The root was the most common plant part used for making liáng chá and accounted for 56 of the 238 species, or 21.3% (Figure 3). Decoction in hot water was the primary used method for preparing liáng chá. A vast majority (>80%) of preparations involved drying plants before decoction in order to preserve herbs and their properties as well as to improve the taste. Only 26 of the 238 species used for liáng chá were specified as being from either fresh or dry plant material. Six species were specified as needing to be processed before decoction and only one species, Glycine max, is fermented before consumption (See Additional file 1: Table S1). A total of 112 species used for liáng chá are wild harvested, 57 species are cultivated, 51 species are either wild harvested or cultivated, and 2 are natural domestication. Wild harvested species were collected in montane forests, wetlands, shrub lands, and disturbed habitat (See Additional file 2: Table S2).


Ethnobotanical survey of cooling herbal drinks from southern China.

Liu Y, Ahmed S, Long C - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2013)

Plant parts used as herbal drinks.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3926322&req=5

Figure 3: Plant parts used as herbal drinks.
Mentions: A total of 238 species from 86 families and 209 genera were recorded for use in liáng chá, or cooling herbal tisanes, or herbal drinks, in the Lingnan region. Some of them are weeds, in traditional medicinal floras has been overlooked, because widely utilized medicinal plants need to be abundant and accessible, rare plants are not often found in medicinal floras [6]. The most prevalent botanical family represented in the collections was the Asteraceae with 21 species followed by Poaceae with 13 species and Lamiaceae with 12 species (Figure 2). The documented cooling herbal drinks consisted of a range of plant parts including leaf, root, fruit, flower, branch, bud, pollen, stigma, pith, bulb, tuber, kernel, stem, peel, aerial part, seed, bark and rhizome from herbaceous and woody plants. The root was the most common plant part used for making liáng chá and accounted for 56 of the 238 species, or 21.3% (Figure 3). Decoction in hot water was the primary used method for preparing liáng chá. A vast majority (>80%) of preparations involved drying plants before decoction in order to preserve herbs and their properties as well as to improve the taste. Only 26 of the 238 species used for liáng chá were specified as being from either fresh or dry plant material. Six species were specified as needing to be processed before decoction and only one species, Glycine max, is fermented before consumption (See Additional file 1: Table S1). A total of 112 species used for liáng chá are wild harvested, 57 species are cultivated, 51 species are either wild harvested or cultivated, and 2 are natural domestication. Wild harvested species were collected in montane forests, wetlands, shrub lands, and disturbed habitat (See Additional file 2: Table S2).

Bottom Line: However, there is a knowledge gap on the plant species used and commercialized for cooling herbal drinks in southern China and their associated ethnobotanical use, habitat and conservation status.This is the first study to document plant species used and commercialized as liáng chá in southern China's Lingnan region and associated ethnomedical function, preparation methods, habitat and conservation status.Future research on safety and efficacy of herbal drinks as well as ecological and cultural conservation efforts are needed for the sustainable growth of China's botanical industry.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Minzu University of China, Beijing 100081, China. long@mail.kib.ac.cn.

ABSTRACT

Background: Liáng chá ("cooling tea", "herbal tea" or "cool tisane" in Chinese) are herbal drinks widely produced in southern China and consumed by billions of people worldwide to prevent and treat internal heat as well as a range of associated health conditions. Globalization and renewed interest in botanical remedies has attracted growing attention in cooling herbal drinks by industry, scientists and consumers. However, there is a knowledge gap on the plant species used and commercialized for cooling herbal drinks in southern China and their associated ethnobotanical use, habitat and conservation status. This is the first study to document plant species used and commercialized as liáng chá in southern China's Lingnan region and associated ethnomedical function, preparation methods, habitat and conservation status.

Methods: Three hundred market surveys were conducted between 2010-2012 in the largest herbal drink producing region of China to record plants used for liáng chá and to document knowledge on their medicinal function, habitat and conservation status. Product samples and voucher specimens were collected for taxonomic identification.

Results: All informants harvest and cultivate plants for preparing herbal drinks for their medicinal, cultural and economic values. A total of 222 ethnotaxa corresponded to 238 botanical taxa (species, varieties or subspecies) belonging to 86 families and 209 genera were recorded as liáng chá to treat health conditions in the study area. Recorded remedies consisted of one or several plant species to treat conditions classified into 27 major health conditions with clearing internal heat being the most common medicinal function. The habitat types of plants documented for use as liáng chá include 112 wild harvested species, 51 species that are either wild harvested or cultivated, 57 cultivated species, and 2 naturalized species. According to China's Red List and CITES on conservation status, one of these species is endangered, one species is critically endangered, eight species are vulnerable, one is listed in CITES II, three are listed in Regional Red Data Book and the remaining 224 species are in the least concerned conservation category.

Conclusions: The liáng chá industry of southern China reflects the plant species richness and cultural diversity of the region. Future research on safety and efficacy of herbal drinks as well as ecological and cultural conservation efforts are needed for the sustainable growth of China's botanical industry.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus