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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 60  |  Page : 115-123

An ethnobotanical and ethnomedicinal survey of traditionally used medicinal plants in Seymour, South Africa: An attempt toward digitization and preservation of ethnic knowledge

1 Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of the Free State, Phuthaditjhaba, South Africa
2 Department of Botany, University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa
3 Department of Biochemistry and Physiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Abuja, Abuja, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Lisa Valencia Buwa-Komoren
Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of The Free State, Private Bag X13, Phuthaditjhaba 9866
South Africa
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/pm.pm_259_18

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Introduction: Medicinal plants have been used for the treatment of both infectious and noninfectious diseases by the majority of the world's population for many years. The low socioeconomic standing of Eastern Cape population suggests that the majority of people use traditional methods of health care. Many of the rural communities in this province have no access to Western medical health care and rely on traditional medicine for their primary health-care needs. Materials and Methods: An ethnobotanical survey was conducted from February 2013 to December 2015 to investigate the use of medicinal plants by the people of Seymour in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Information was gathered from nine traditional healers, seven herbalists, and 18 elderly villagers. Results: The information collected revealed six ailment categories that were treated with a wide range of medicinal plants. A total of 50 plant species belonging to 29 families were reported to be used in the treatment of various ailments. Members of the family Asteraceae, Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae, and Rutaceae had the highest number of species used in traditional healing. Leaves were reported to be the most frequently used plant part, followed by roots, bark, stem, and then corms and rhizomes. The survey indicated that the most prominent method of herbal administration used is orally via extracts that were obtained by boiling, either as a decoction or concoction. Conclusions: This study has documented important information on medicinal plants used by people, traditional healers, and herbalists of Seymour region in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa to treat various ailments. Abbreviations used: ACE: Angiotensin-converting enzyme; CNS: Central nervous system; ENT: Ear, nose and throat; HIV: Human Immunodeficiency virus; ICF: Informant consensus factor; Nur: Total number of use report; Nt: Number of taxa; TB: Tuberculosis

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