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Pitzer College

Publication Date

Fall 2019

Program Name

Anthropology, Botany, Environmental Studies, History, Ecology, Traditional Healing


Xishuangbanna is home to one of the most biologically and culturally diverse regions in China. Dai medicine from the Dai people has been recognized by China as one of the four major ethnic minority medicines. With over 2,500 years of practice, Dai medicine utilizes the herbs found in the diverse region mixed with principles and theories from Buddhism. There have been over 500 unique herbs used in Dai medicine, each with different properties and functions. As Xishuangbanna continues to develop as a city and expand its rubber and banana plantations, it has large impacts on the environment, living standard, education, and culture, overall, changing traditional Dai medicine and herbal collection. The records and experiences living in different Dai villages learning about herbalism are focused in this paper, documenting the traditional knowledge as well as noting the changing methods, limitations and lack thereof, and impacts development of the region has on Dai herbal medicine.


Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Asian Studies | Botany | Chinese Studies | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Studies | History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Human Ecology | Medicine and Health | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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