A new insight into Cannabis sativa (Cannabaceae) utilization from 2500-year-old Yanghai Tombs, Xinjiang, China

J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Dec 6;108(3):414-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2006.05.034. Epub 2006 Jun 23.


A cache of shoots, leaves and fruits dated by (14)C at 2500 years B.P. were unearthed in the Yanghai Tombs, Turpan District in Xinjiang, China. By comparing the morphological and anatomical characteristics of the plant remains found in the tomb and specimens of modern plants, it is shown that the remains belong to Cannabis. Based on the shamanistic background of the deceased man and ancient customs, it is assumed that the Cannabis was utilized for ritual/medicinal purposes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cannabis / classification
  • Cannabis / ultrastructure*
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • China
  • Fossils*
  • Fruit / ultrastructure
  • Geography
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Plant Leaves / ultrastructure
  • Plant Stems / ultrastructure
  • Plants, Medicinal / classification
  • Plants, Medicinal / ultrastructure
  • Time Factors


  • Carbon Isotopes