The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 80% of South Africans use traditional medicines (compared to a figure of 60% worldwide) and that there are over 200,000 traditional healers
practising in SA. Diabetes, epilepsy, high blood pressure and TB are a major concern - though HIV/AIDS has the highest profile of any disease in the region at present.
foliage, bark and gum used in infusions to treat diaorrhoea, dysentry, colds, haemorrhage and thrush.
wood hard and termite resistant. Useful boundary tree.
Food - soups, salads - bitter, peppery flavour. Wide medicinal use to treat for rheumatism and colds. Avoid large doses in pregnancy.
roots and rhizomes used in a decoction for postnatal and antenatal trt. Used to relieve difficult labour.
general insect repellent, incl. spider mites, aphids and weevils.
The gel inside the leaves is used to treat skin disorders and to burns
Gel can be added to drinks thought to stimmulate the immune system
Gel applied to sores, reported to have anti-viral activity
No gel extract of root used to empty the stomach
Gel from applied to sores, round worms (roots) and drink used to empty the stomach
Gel has wound healing properties and in some areas the gel is used in a drink to stimulate the immune system. Reports it is also used to treat diabetes.
tea or decoctions for trt of flu, coughs, fever, pneumonia. Steaming with lvs for headaches. Also for trt of constipation, indigestion, trt of
worms and gastritis. Used to trt malaria and TB. Anti-microbial, anti-oxidant and narcotic.
Added to stews to treat stomach problems
roots and lvs. Sap applied to skin for trt of burns, eczema, wounds, etc. Also used traditionally, to treat snake and insect bites.
lf. pulp used to treat oral and vaginal thrush in babies and adults. Antiseptic properties. Sap used to treat sore throats, TB, diarrhoea,
crushed lvs for skin conditions. Internally - as tinctures and extracts -trt of fever, diarrhoea, leprosy, stress , TB, arthritis and cancer.
Anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, wound healing, BP lowering and anti-tumour properties.
chick pea is the world's third most important pulse crop. Used dried or fresh, made into flour, coffee substitute, fodder.
major thatching reed, also used in other forms of construction
lf sap used as poultice-plaster to trt warts and boils. Plant also said to be sueful intreating epilepsy, worms, ear- and tooth-ache!
anti-oxidant, anti-microbial.powdered root applied to skin to trt fungal infections. Internally, reported anti-HIV activity. Used to trt thrush, high BP, etc. Previously used to trt jaundice and digestive problems.
herb. seeds (tinctures and infusions) , lvs and roots used to treat indigestion, flatulence and coughs.
stem bark , powdered and boiled in water. Blood purifier and skin cleanser. Used to treat eczema, fractures and sprains.
deters insects. Lvs, stems and rhizomes used to treat coughs, colds, headaches, indigestion and other ailments.
infusions and decoctions of dried foliage, roots and stem bark are used to treat high BP, colic, diarrhoea and sore throats.
Used to treat chest infections, anti-inflammatory activity
Very wide range of uses and a species often given different names. Main use in for infections and it is a species of interest for its anti-bacterial activity.
Often added to infusions used to treat mild infections
Used in infusions to treat mild infections
Used in infusions to treat mild infections
anti-viral, anti-tumour, anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, detoxifying. Fights free-radicals. Improves blood circulation. Useful in treating epilepsy, long-term stress and mild depression.
infusions or poultices of roots and leaves used to treat boils, abscesses and intestinal worms. Food.
Added to food as a herb, but also to preserve food and because of its anti-oxidant properties.
soil stabiliser, cereal crop, fodder, source on
Balloon pea, duck lvs and young stems used. anti-viral, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, stress relieving. internal cancers, fever, dysentry, diabetes, stress and plant, cancer
anxiety. Used to trt TB and AIDS. Blend of Centella and Sutherlandia in cream form used to treat Kaposi's sarcoma.
common comfrey compost accelerator. Plant food, used in drinks to treat infections
grown in countries too hot for true spinach; fed by Capt. Cook to his crew.
albertina, dekriet Primary thatching reed, with other construction uses. Supports a widespread industry in the marginal farmland of the southern Cape.
Also used in cut flower trade (foliage).
compost accelerator. Food, used to treat sore joints
soil stabiliser, mulch, rodent-proofing fence lines.
arum lily, varkoor poultice of lvs or boiled rhizomes used to treat bpoils, wounds, gout, rheumatism, bronchitis and asthma. NB never eaten fresh as
valuable source of the amino acid lysine, absent from other cereals and often lacking in largely vegetarian diets.
Sources of information: Mabberley, DJ (2003) The Plant Book, 2nd Ed, Cambridge University Press MEGA
(Medicinal and Edible Gardens Association) introduction to medicinal plants, 10/31/03 Dr James
A Duke (2003) The Green Pharmacy, Rodale, London
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