Ethnomedicinal uses of indigenous plant species in Mogalakwena Municipality

Ethnomedicinal uses of indigenous plant species in Mogalakwena Municipality of Waterberg District, Limpopo Province South Africa

L.P. Maema*, S.M. Mahlo and M.J. Potgieter International Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine

Department of Biodiversity, School of Molecular and Life Sciences, University of Limpopo, Private Bag X1106, Sovenga 0727, South Africa.

Various indigenous cultures in the Limpopo Province of South Africa are transitioning from a traditional lifestyle to a westernised one. This leads to a loss of cultural identity and knowledge. Consequently, an ethnobotanical survey was conducted to investigate the medicinal uses of indigenous plants in the Mogalakwena Local Municipality of the Waterberg District in Limpopo Province, South Africa, an area experiencing rapid transition to a western lifestyle. The study interviewed 30 traditional healers via a semi-structured questionnaire. Thirty five indigenous plant species were documented to be used in the treatment of 37 ailments. These species are distributed among 22 families, of which Asteraceae (5 species), Fabaceae (4 species) and Hyacinthaceae (3 species) are the most prominent. The remaining families are represented by either a single or two species. Bark and roots accounted for 50% of the material used, followed by leaves (12%) and tuber (8%), amongst other. Preparation of remedies was mainly through decoctions (40%), followed by infusions (33.3%), paste (8.3%), and fumes through burning (6.7%). The high percentage of bark and roots use is an area of concern. Furthermore this study found many instances of unsustainable harvesting techniques. These issues need immediate attention for the long term conservation of a number of threatened species identified in this study.

Keywords: Bapedi traditional health practitioners, Mogalakwena Local Municipality, ethnomedicinal survey

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