How a bitter Chinese herb brings a sweeter life to locals in SW China

Hidden deep in the Qinling-Daba Mountains, Xuanhan County in southwest China's Sichuan Province is one of the poorest counties in the region due to its geography.

Although vegetation, like "huanglian," flourishes here, the lack of transportation and information make it difficult for them to be sold and raise local income. But in 2013, the local government started to build a new road connecting the county to the outside world.

"Huanglian," or the Chinese goldthread, is the name of a Chinese herbal medicine with a bitter taste, and grows on the mountain slope at an altitude of over 2,000 meters. 

At 73-years-old, Li Tiangui, a farmer in Huanglian Village, grows the bitter herbal medicine for income. Previously, he used to plant just corn and potatoes to meet the basic needs of his family. 

Now, the Chinese herb can be sold outside and lift poor families out of poverty. The Chinese herbal medicine industry in the county has sweetened the life of over 5,000 poverty-stricken families.

Go green and live rich

Ecological poverty alleviation is a poverty reduction model that combines ecological protection with poverty alleviation. Some areas suffer from poverty due to their harsh natural environment, while others lack sustainable and scientific ways to make use of natural resources. Through participation in ecological protection and development of ecological industries, villagers can be lifted out of poverty while protecting Mother Nature. This series not only uncovers the stories behind China's poverty alleviation policy but also depicts the life of ordinary people.

For more: 

How the lychee has sweetened the life of poor families in S China

The delicate flower witnesses the double changes in SW China

A win-win solution for restoring the environment and enriching people

Protecting the Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys

(Cover image designed by CGTN's Qu Bo. Video edited by Zhao Ying.)

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