African Health Sciences

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Ethnobotanical study of curative plants used by traditional healers to treat rhinitis in the Limpopo Province, South Africa

Sebua Silas Semenya, Alfred Maroyi


Background: Studies focusing on plants used medicinally to heal and manage rhinitis are very scarce in Africa and elsewhere.
Objectives: To document plants used by traditional healers (THs) in the treatment and management of rhinitis and related symptoms in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.
Methods: Data was gathered using a semi structured interviews with 105 THs in the Limpopo Province, supplemented by field expeditions for plant specimen collection and observation.
Results: 63 plant species from 59 genera distributed across 40 botanical families, mainly the Asteraceae (7 spp.) and Euphorbiaceae (6 spp.) were therapeutically used by THs. Overall, 77 herbal recipes (87%=mono and 12.9%=poly), mainly prepared from roots (55.5%) and leaves (19%) were recorded. Most of these recipes were processed via pounding (59.7%) and boiling (20.7%). Oral (44.1%) and nasal (33.7%) was the preferred modes of dispensing remedies by THs. Artemisia afra, Clerodendrum ternatum, Cryptocarya transvaalensis, Enicostema axillare, Kalanchoe brachyloba, Lasiosiphon caffer, Lippia javanica, Schkuhria pinnata, Securidaca longepedunculata, Spirostachys africana, Stylochaeton natalensis and Zanthoxylum capense were the most widely used and preferred species for treatment of rhinitis and/or related symptom by all questioned THs.
Conclusion: This study is the first to document plants used traditionally to treat rhinitis in Africa. Therefore, it provides a baseline data on the plants used to heal rhinitis in the Limpopo Province. Finding of this study can be used as apedestal for further investigation in to effective plant-based anti-rhinitis drugs.

Keywords: Bapedi, Limpopo, traditional healers, rhinitis.

AJOL African Journals Online