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Camptotheca trees had been used as fuelwood and an ornamental species in its native China. There were no reports on medicinal uses of Camptotheca in China and thus it was believed the trees had no medicinal before its antitumor activity discovered in 1957. We conducted national surveys of Camptotheca in China from 1994 to 1999. We found that Camptotheca acuminate is commonly known as happytree (xi shu) because the trees can be used as folk medicine to cure stubborn phlegm as well as other diseases, thus making patients “happy”. There are three local names to refer the uses of C. acuminata in China. In addition, there are at least 25 other local names for tree morphology and habitat of the species by 35 ethnic groups. There are two local names for C. lowreyana. The Dong people made paste from fresh leaves or fruits and powder from dry materials from any part of this tree species and mixed some or all with rice wine to cure many stubborn diseases including furunclulosis, skin diseases, and even a liu (probably a kind of cancer). Medicinal and other ethnic uses of Camptotheca trees in China were reported in this study.


Originally published open access in Pharmaceutical Crops (2014) 5, (Suppl 2: M7) 140-145



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