Planta Med 2011; 77 - PF3
DOI: 10.1055/s-0031-1282391

An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used by traditional healers in Durban, South Africa

MR Coopoosamy 1, KK Naidoo 1
  • 1Mangosuthu University of Technology, Durban, South Africa

Medicinal plants have been extensively used for the treatment of infectious diseases by majority of the world's population. Many of the rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal have no access to western medical practioners and rely on traditional medicines for their cures. It has been noted that approximately 20% of the plants found in the world have some pharmacological properties. An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used for various treatments including stomach ailments, skin diseases, blood purifiers, rashes, burns and other infections used in KwaZulu- Natal, South Africa was conducted through the use of structured questionnaires. Respondents included traditional healers, herbalists and herb sellers. The information collected revealed that 25 plant species belonging to various families are currently being exploited for their curing properties. The most frequently used parts are the leaves followed by root, rhizome or bulb. Stems, flowers and fruits are seldom used. The survey has indicated that Traditional healers administer their medications via extracts that are obtained by boiling, either as a tea or concoction.