Ethnobotanical studies involve the investigation of biocultural diversity and thus the interactions between plants and people. Foremost among these are the management of plant diversity by indigenous communities and the traditional use of medicinal plants, which are considered an important component of the world’s cultural heritage. Furthermore, this kind of knowledge plays a crucial role in various applied fields such as biodiversity conservation and primary health care.

Ongoing projects:

  • People and plants in Southwest China
  • Non-timber forest products and related conservation issues in Southwest China
  • Continuum between ritual and medicinal plant use
  • Ethnobotany in Switzerland - Traditional and contemporary use of (medicinal) plants


Recent Publications

  • Liriopogons (Genera Ophiopogon and Liriope, Asparagaceae): A Critical Review of the Phytochemical and Pharmacological Research
    Lei, Feiyi; Weckerle, Caroline S.; Heinrich, Michael
    Frontiers In Pharmacology 10.3389/fphar.2021.769929  DEC 3 2021
  • Local plant knowledge and its variation among farmer's families in the Napf region, Switzerland
    Poncet, Anna; Schunko, Christoph; Vogl, Christian R.; Weckerle, Caroline S.
    Journal Of Ethnobiology And Ethnomedicine 10.1186/s13002-021-00478-5  SEP 3 2021
  • Traditional medicinal knowledge and practices among the tribal communities of Thakht-e-Sulaiman Hills, Pakistan
    Ahmad, Khalid; Ahmad, Mushtaq; Huber, Franz K.; Weckerle, Caroline S.
    Bmc Complementary Medicine And Therapies 10.1186/s12906-021-03403-1  SEP 13 2021
  • Ethnobotanical investigation of wild vegetables used among local communities in northwest Pakistan
    Ahmad, K; Weckerle, CS; Nazir, A
    ACTA SOCIETATIS BOTANICORUM POLONIAE, 88 (1):10.5586/asbp.3616 2019
  • Quality control of goji (fruits of Lycium barbarum L. and L. chinense Mill.): A value chain analysis perspective
    Yao, Ruyu; Heinrich, Michael; Wang, Zigui; Weckerle, Caroline S.
    JOURNAL OF ETHNOPHARMACOLOGY, 224 349-358; 10.1016/j.jep.2018.06.010 OCT 5 2018
  • Quality Variation of Goji (Fruits of Lycium spp.) in China: A Comparative Morphological and Metabolomic Analysis 
    Yao, Ruyu; Heinrich, Michael; Zou, Yuanfeng; et al. 
    FRONTIERS IN PHARMACOLOGY, 9: FEB 26 2018 Article (Details)
  • The genus Lycium as food and medicine: A botanical, ethnobotanical and historical review 
    Yao, Ruyu; Heinrich, Michael; Weckerle, Caroline S. 
    JOURNAL OF ETHNOPHARMACOLOGY, 212: 50-66 10.1016/j.jep.2017.10.010 FEB 15 2018
  • Recommended standards for conducting and reporting ethnopharmacological field studies 
    Weckerle, Caroline S.; de Boer, Hugo J.; Puri, Rajindra K.; et al. 
    JOURNAL OF ETHNOPHARMACOLOGY, 210: 125-132 10.1016/j.jep.2017.08.018 JAN 10 2018
  • Reverse ethnopharmacology and drug discovery 
    Leonti, Marco; Stafford, Gary; Dal Cero, Maja et al. 
    JOURNAL OF ETHNOPHARMACOLOGY, 198: 417-431  10.1016/j.jep.2016.12.044  FEB 2017
  • Plant names as traces of the past in Shuiluo Valley, China
    Chirkova, Katia; Huber, Franz K.; Weckerle, Caroline S.; et al. 
    OURNAL OF ETHNOBIOLOGY, 36 (1): 192-214 10.2993/0278-0771-36.1.192   MAR 2016
Caroline Weckerle

PD Dr. Caroline Weckerle
University of Zurich
Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany
8008 Zurich

Tel: +41 (0)44 634 83 52

Research topics

  • Human plant interactions
  • Local plant knowledge
  • Incense analysis
  • Chinese Medicine
  • Taxonomy



  • Human livelihoods and conservation 
  • Human ecology
  • Access and benefit sharing
  • Phytochemistry
  • Complementary medicine