Swertia chirayita in Nepal Himalayas: Cultivation and Cross Border Trade to China


  • Arjun Chapagain




Bhotiya, Medicinal Plant, Nepal-China border, Supply chain


For ethnic inhabitants in the rural areas, medicinal plants are not only the cultural, sacred medicinal ingredients of traditional medicine, part of traditional belief and biodiversity but also an important cash crop to support their livelihood. With the commercialization of traditional medicine and medicinal plant-based industries worldwide, Nepalese medicinal plants are in high demand. This photo essay presents the various steps from the cultivation to the cross-border trade of Swertia chirayita (Roxb.) H. Karst., a traditional valuable medicinal plant, and a beautiful landscape of Nepal-China border. The essay contains fourteen photographs each described with captions in detail with the information collected during field work. The ethnographic study on cross border trade of medicinal plants was conducted in 2020 at Bhotkhola routes in the northeastern Nepal. Bhotkhola-Tibet border control in 2008 has politically ruptured the original link of traditional exchange among people, goods, and ideas by displacing the community from its everyday borderlands. However, the cross border trade is performed by traditional networks of Bhotiya communities such as rural ethnic inhabitants, farmers, small budget dealers, and traditional practitioners through formal and informal supply chains. The government authorities from both the countries are responsible for regulating, monitoring, and permitting medicinal plants supply from harvesters to cross-border traders.




How to Cite

Chapagain, A. (2021). Swertia chirayita in Nepal Himalayas: Cultivation and Cross Border Trade to China. HIMALAYA - The Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies, 40(2), 134–143. https://doi.org/10.2218/himalaya.2021.6583



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