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Medicinal plants used by the Bapedi traditional healers to treat diarrhoea in the Limpopo Province, South Africa

Semenya, S.S.; Maroyi, A.

Journal of Ethnopharmacology 144(2): 395-401

2012


ISSN/ISBN: 0378-8741
PMID: 23026304
DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.09.027
Accession: 054315137

This paper provides ethnobotanical information on medicinal plants used to treat diarrhoea in the Limpopo Province, South Africa. Documentation of this nature usually provides the basis for selecting medicinal plants for future phytochemical and pharmaceutical studies aimed at developing new, effective and affordable plant-derived diarrhoea remedies. To record and document medicinal plants used by the Bapedi traditional healers to treat diarrhoea in the Limpopo Province, South Africa. In order to record and document medicinal plants used by the Bapedi traditional healers to treat diarrhoea, 51 healers from 17 municipalities covering Capricorn, Sekhukhune and Waterberg districts in the Limpopo Province, South Africa were interviewed between January and July 2011. Data collected included the names of plants, plant part(s) used, methods of herbal preparation, administration, dosage and duration of treatments. Voucher specimens of the plants used by the Bapedi traditional healers to treat diarrhoea were collected, identified and deposited as future reference material at the Larry-Leach Herbarium (UNIN), University of Limpopo. A total of 20 plant species representing 16 families and 20 genera were found to be commonly used by the Bapedi traditional healers to treat and manage diarrhoea in the Limpopo Province, South Africa. The largest proportion of the medicinal plants belonged to the families Anacardiaceae, Asteraceae, Fabaceae and Malvaceae (10% each). The most frequently used species were Punica granatum (39.2%), Grewia bicolor (33.3%), Dombeya rotundifolia (21.6%), Commiphora marlothii (19.6%) and Acacia senegal (13.7%). The roots were the most commonly used plant part (50%), followed by leaves (20%), bark (15%), fruits (10%), pericarp, seed, tuber and whole plants (5% each). Mono therapies based on preparations made from a single plant species were the most dominant (90%). All medicinal preparations were taken orally for 1 week or until diarrhoea subsided. The therapeutic claims of the medicinal plants documented in this study are well supported by literature, with 70% of the species having anti-diarrhoeal properties or are used as diarrhoea remedies both in South Africa and also in other countries. This study reveals that local communities in the Limpopo Province, South Africa still depend on traditional medicines for basic healthcare; and the use of traditional medicines is still an integral part of their socio-cultural life.

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