Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used by Hakka in Guangdong, China

Dawn Tung Au, Jialin Wu, Zhi Hong JIANG, Hubiao CHEN, Guanghua Lu, Zhongzhen ZHAO*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Ethnopharmacological relevance: An ethnobotanical survey was conducted to collect information on the use of medicinal plants by the Hakka living in Guangdong. Aim of the study: This investigation was to document valuable knowledge represented by Hakka herbal medicine. Materials and methods: Information was obtained from semi-structured interviews, personal conversations with practitioners, direct observations, and by reviewing studies of Hakka and Cantonese reported in the literature. Results: Our data covered 94 species belonging to 77 genera in 40 families. We found that most species used for medical purposes were for hepatitis (14 species) and skin diseases (12 species). These disorders are prevalent and are primarily treated with medicinal plants. For treatment, the plants were mainly used as teas (Luica, Bugingca and Lopêdca), medicinal baths and soups. The Hakka and non-Hakka people living in Guangdong use different medicinal plants and, in some cases, use the same medicinal plants differently. Conclusions: The fast disappearance of traditional culture and natural resources due to urbanization and industrialization suggests that unrecorded information may be lost forever. Thus, there is an urgent need both to record this valuable Hakka medicinal knowledge and to encourage its transfer to the next generation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-50
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2008

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery

User-Defined Keywords

  • Cantonese
  • Ethnobotany
  • Hakka medicinal plants
  • Hoklos
  • Lingnan herbal teas


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