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China Seeds of Beauty Program to Preserve Precious Medicinal Plants

Seeds of Beauty

  • Protecting precious Chinese medicinal plants
  • Safeguarding the knowledge about these valuable plants for future generations
  • Empowering women to develop social enterprises linked to the preservation of nature

Why this Program?

Yunnan is a hotspot for biodiversity. Its plants are very important for food, water, nutrition, beauty and health.

Intensive agriculture and climate change have affected the flowering and diversity of Yunnan plants and without protection, many will disappear.

Clarins has always been committed to protect the plants which have been our source of innovation for over 60 years. With this program, we are delivering on our commitment to protect biodiversity and hoping to extend our knowledge of Chinese medicinal plants.

Did you Know?

  • 70–80 % of people in developing countries depend on medicinal plants to preserve their health (Source: World Health Organization)
  • Yunnan has the largest diversity of plant life in China (17,000 species or more, out of China’s 30,000 higher plant species, come from Yunnan)
  • Clarins uses more than 250 plant extracts in its products

About the Seeds of Beauty Program

The program protects precious Chinese medicinal plants which are essential for beauty and health, as well as the cultural heritage and knowledge about these plants.

Women from the Lisu ethnic minority, in the villages of LiGuang and Meile, at the heart of the Laojun Mountain National Park in Yunnan, are creating dozens of agroforestry gardens to protect these rare plants and bring back fertility to the agricultural land.

Clarins and The Zigen Fund are organizing trainings on agroforestry and product transformation techniques, to help the local villagers develop a more lucrative farming activity, linked to the conservation and sustainable farming of these precious plants. We are helping the farmers buy the seedlings of these plants.

Program Benefits

Protection of rare medicinal plants: Local villagers are replanting native species of trees (walnut, prickly ash, snow peach, plum trees) and precious Chinese medicinal plants. One example is the Yunnan Kayanoki Fern, a precious Chinese medicinal plant, which was becoming extinct due to its very high cost of cultivation.

Sustainable living and environmental regeneration: Villagers increase their use of trees to improve food security, nutrition, income, health, shelter, and environmental sustainability. Agroforestry also helps improve soil fertility, creating the conditions for a long-term, sustainable agriculture activity.

Women empowerment and income growth: The cultivation of precious medicinal plants contributes to local income growth and diversification, as the selling price of these plants is higher than that of traditional crops such as potatoes, corns and fruits; and the yield per hectare is higher

  • Program started in 2012

  • 2,000 small-scale farmers involved, from the Lisu ethnic minority

  • 125,000 medicinal plants and 40,000 trees planted since 2012 with Clarins’ support

  • Project was renamed “Green village by villagers and Zigen this year.

Key Facts

A Program Inspired by Women and for the Benefit of Women

Women play a very important role in this program.

The Lisu women have expressed their vision that medicinal plant production was to be encouraged both because it was generating higher revenues, as well as preserving the resources and reducing the pressure on the forest areas of the Laojun Mountain National Park.

They have turned this environmental project into a real social enterprise, increasing their incomes and bringing many other benefits to their communities, such as better irrigation, access to water, education, etc.

Program Partners

Clarins has been supporting this program for the past three years and in November 2014, we signed a cooperation agreement with the Zigen Fund and the Yulong Naxi Autonomous County People Government, to continue jointly supporting this program.

  • The Zigen Fund

    The Zigen Fund manages the Seeds of Beauty program in China. They are a non-profit organization, focusing on grassroots development in rural China, to help the poor and underprivileged meet their basic needs.

    Zigen in Chinese means to nurture the roots.

  • The villagers of LiGuang and Meile

    The local Lisu villagers, who are implementing this program, have a long-tradition of growing and collecting medicinal plants. They are receiving training on agroforestry and loans to grow these plants more sustainably.

  • The Yulong Naxi Autonomous County Government

    The Yulong County government has been facilitating this project since its inception, also providing direct support to the local villagers.

  • Pur Projet

    Pur Project provides advice on agroforestry models and helps organize agroforestry trainings for the Lisu villagers.

  • ICRAF (International Centre for Research in
    Agroforestry of the Kunming Institute of Botany)

    ICRAF is a leading, international science-based research centre, focused on transforming lives and landscapes with trees. In this program, they help train the villagers on agroforestry techniques, and provide technical advice on soil hydration and seed selection.