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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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Ailment category--frequency of mentions within one ailment > 10 (f < 10 are summarized as “others”).
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Figure 4: Ailment category--frequency of mentions within one ailment > 10 (f < 10 are summarized as “others”).

Mentions: Herbal teas are no limit to the duration that herbal teas are consumed as they are used within a food context, not for the treatment of medical conditions [8]. Here, the medicinal functions of recorded herbal drinks can be divided into 27 health conditions (Figure 4). The most common function is clearing away heat, followed by detoxification. In addition to the 13 types of medical functions shown in Figure 4, there are 14 other functions including reducing blood pressure, warming lung and dispersing cold, warming spleen and stomach, resolving macula, anti-tumor, relaxing the bowels, alleviating edema, promoting lactation, relieving thirst, sedative, improving vision, promoting digestion, stopping vomiting and dysentery, and resolving sore throat. Informants were knowledgeable about the use of various herbal drinks for the prevention and treatment of different health conditions. Some of the preparations for liáng chá involve single plant species and others combinations of plants. In addition, some plants have a single medical function while others have multiple medical functions. A brief description of medical functions of all recorded plant species is listed as supplemental data in Additional file 1: Table S1. The medical functions that herbal teas are used for in Lingnan have evolved in response to global environmental changes and lifestyle changes driving shifts in illnesses prevalence and the emergence of new illnesses.


Ethnobotanical survey of cooling herbal drinks from southern China.

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

Ailment category--frequency of mentions within one ailment > 10 (f < 10 are summarized as “others”).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 4: Ailment category--frequency of mentions within one ailment > 10 (f < 10 are summarized as “others”).
Mentions: Herbal teas are no limit to the duration that herbal teas are consumed as they are used within a food context, not for the treatment of medical conditions [8]. Here, the medicinal functions of recorded herbal drinks can be divided into 27 health conditions (Figure 4). The most common function is clearing away heat, followed by detoxification. In addition to the 13 types of medical functions shown in Figure 4, there are 14 other functions including reducing blood pressure, warming lung and dispersing cold, warming spleen and stomach, resolving macula, anti-tumor, relaxing the bowels, alleviating edema, promoting lactation, relieving thirst, sedative, improving vision, promoting digestion, stopping vomiting and dysentery, and resolving sore throat. Informants were knowledgeable about the use of various herbal drinks for the prevention and treatment of different health conditions. Some of the preparations for liáng chá involve single plant species and others combinations of plants. In addition, some plants have a single medical function while others have multiple medical functions. A brief description of medical functions of all recorded plant species is listed as supplemental data in Additional file 1: Table S1. The medical functions that herbal teas are used for in Lingnan have evolved in response to global environmental changes and lifestyle changes driving shifts in illnesses prevalence and the emergence of new illnesses.

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