Ethnomedicinal uses of exotic plant species in Mogalakwena Municipality

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

L.P. Maema*, M.M. Mahlo and M.J. PotgieterInternational 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.

Traditional medicine still constitutes a large part of the primary health care sector in South Africa. However, limited information exists about the ethnomedicinal uses of exotic plant species. Thus an ethnobotanical survey was conducted to investigate its use in Mogalakwena Local Municipality of Waterberg District of the Limpopo Province, South Africa. This was done by interviewing 30 traditional health practitioners, from 15 villages between April and November 2015. The study documented 8 exotic plant species that are used to treat various diseases. The documented species are distributed across 7 families, of which the Asteraceae (2) is the most prominent, while the remaining families are represented by single species. The plant parts, most used was roots (36.4%), followed by fruits (27.3%), whole plant (18.1%), whereas leaves and flower contributed 9.1% each. It was further evidenced that preparation of remedies were mainly through infusions (30%) and decoctions (30%), administered orally. It is concluded that exotic plants now form an integral part of the materia medica of Bapedi traditional health practitioners. It is further concluded that with proper and careful management exotic plant species can reduce overexploitation of heavily harvested indigenous medicinal plants in South Africa.

Keywords: Ethnobotanical survey, medicinal plants, tradition health practitioners and Conservation.

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