Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark (HKUGGp) invited a number of local experienced Chinese medicine practitioners and herbal plant experts from the Hong Kong Chinese Medicine and Herbs Association to provide a training course on herbal plants for geopark guides and villagers of geopark communities to broaden their knowledge of common herbal plants and the intangible cultural heritage of Chinese medicine.
The training course comprised indoor lectures and outdoor field trips that were both practical and fun. Through the training, the participants acquired a fundamental understanding of Chinese medicine, learned to identify common herbal plants that can be found in the village environs in the countryside of Hong Kong, and gained basic knowledge of their medicinal properties.
The training lectures combine theory and practice. The participants are provided lecture notes and herbal plant samples, allowing them to examine and touch real plant samples and compare them to the descriptions in the course notes
HKUGGp also worked with the Hong Kong Chinese Medicine and Herbs Association to set up a mini herb garden at the Lai Chi Wo Geoheritage Centre in September 2018. A few herbal plant trails are currently being developed with the local communities on Ap Chau and Kat O. The trails are expected to open in mid-2019.
Mini herb garden set-up at the Lai Chi Wo Geoheritage Centre with the help of Hong Kong Chinese Medicine and Herbs Association
Through this training and the upcoming establishment of herbal plant trails, HKUGGp aims to engage and form partnerships with local geopark communities and build up their capacity for the mutual benefit of HKUGGp and the communities.
Outdoor field trip to explore the village environs and see the herbal plants in their native habitat
The training workshop was a huge success, Recommended Geopark Guide Raymond Poon had the following comment after the training: “We always thought Chinese herbal medicines were mythical plants that existed only high in the mountains. We had no idea we had been walking past many of them every day! I’m excited at the prospect of incorporating herbal plant knowledge into my guided tours. It will add a lot of fun and at the same time highlight the rich biodiversity of Hong Kong.”
HKUGGp expects the herbal plant training to build up the capacity of both geopark guides and villagers, bringing long-term mutual benefits to HKUGGp and the local communities.