Economic Botany Section
Abler, Rebecca , Thao, Kia , Garcia, Larry , Luke, Christina , Carlson, Kitrina .
Indigenous and Exotic Plants used in Traditional Medicines by Hmong Communities in Wisconsin.
Ethnobotanists have recognized a cultural shift in populations practicing traditional plant-based medicine. As immigrant populations become established in Western nations, younger generations adopt new lifestyles and values and abandon many of the traditions of their elders. This phenomenon has been noted in many cultures, including Hmong immigrants of Wisconsin. In order to help preserve the Hmong culture, and to better understand the science behind traditional Hmong medicine, we have conducted a survey of the Hmong populations in western and eastern Wisconsin and developed a database identifying traditional medicinal plants. The database includes demographic information, plant source and description, scientific and common names (if available), and method of preparation and medicinal use. Identification of plants is difficult through traditional means, as many of the samples consist of only a few parts of the plant, and are in dried and/or processed forms. Therefore, we have combined traditional morphological identification with DNA “barcoding.” DNA was extracted from dried or fresh plant material and plant specimens are identified using sequences of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of nuclear DNA, and the trnH-psbA intergenic spacer region of the plastid genome. Our results indicate that the Hmong in Wisconsin use a wide variety of plants for traditional medicine. Many of the plants are native to Laos, and are brought to the United States in dried and/or processed form. Other plants are cultivated in home gardens and greenhouses. Finally, as Hmong families settle in Wisconsin, many may attempt to find local plants which have similar medicinal qualities. Medicinal plants are not limited to any particular taxonomic group, and range from “exotic” to familiar. These plants are of significant botanical interest, and serve as sources of potential new medicines.
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1 - University of Wisconsin Manitowoc, Biological Sciences, 705 Viebahn St., Manitowoc, WI, 54220, United States
2 - University of Wisconsin Stout, Biology, 203C Jarvis Hall, Menomonie, WI, 54751, USA
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for BSA Sections
Location: Magpie B/Cliff Lodge - Level B
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Time: 11:00 AM