Ethnobotanical Study on Medicinal Plants of Miao Nationality in Leishan Country, Guizhou Province, China
Ethnopharmacological importance: There is a long development history of Miao medicine in Guizhou, as for the suitable environmental habitats for medicinal plants and rich culture of Miao medicine. Numerous folk medicinal recipes had been introduced. The purpose of this study is to collect information of local plant drugs used by local people in Leishan of Guizhou province, through extensive survey, and to reveal the unique naming and rules of Miao people on plant drugs. Materials and methods: We collected the ethnobotany information using the participatory survey, interview/semi-structured interview with 27 ethnobotanical experts in Leishan, and field investigation. Results: The survey revealed a total of 226 wild plant species covering 197 genus and 97 family used as medicine by Miao people in Leishan. Among 97 families, nine have at least five species, accounting for 34.07% of total diversity of medicinal plant species found in Leishan, and the Compositae is the largest one. The most widely used form of life is herbs (126 species, 55.75%), followed by shrubs (69 species, 39.9%). Whole plant (31.42%) are the most useful part of these plants. The results of the age investigation show that the male elders usually learned more knowledge of Miao medicine compared to remaining. The largest number of folk medicinal plants (a total of 32 species) were used for rheumatism. Examination of the naming rules of medicinal plants by Miao doctors enable to understand the information of plant categories, effective position and key function, morphological characteristics (e.g., odor and color), growing conditions (e.g., environment habitats and season). For example, 34.51% of medicinal plants were named after their shapes, 26.55% after their effective positions, and 21,24% after their medicinal functions.