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Medicinal Plants in the Hidden Land of Dolpo

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Published on May 16, 2012

Video 26 in the Introduction to Ethnobotany series. Presented by Yildiz Aumeeruddy Thomas. Medicinal Plants in the Hidden Land of Dolpo; Working with Himalayan Healers at Shey Phoksundo National Park, Nepal.

Tibetan health care traditions and their links to landscape and culture are central to the medicinal plant conservation program supported in Shey Phoksundo National Park in the alpine meadows of the Eastern Himalaya, Nepal. With the cultural perception that peoples' health is linked to that of the environment, medicinal plant conservation and health care are closely interrelated in the Dolpo region. In addition, local traditional healers, or amchis, are not only responsible for provision of health care but also for environmental management, such as the regulation of grazing in alpine pastures. The new challenge being faced is a large-scale commercial trade of medicinal plants from this area of Nepal to India and elsewhere, with at least 40 tons of medicinal plants exported from the Shey Phoksundo National Park area in 1996/97. Illustrated as an example is the reduction of local self-sufficiency in popular herbal medicines such as Nardostachys grandiflora and Picrorhiza scrophulariifolia. This episode portrays the work of People and Plants which since 1997 has been studying systems of management used for medicinal plants by local amchis and investigating how they can be strengthened.

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