An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used by traditional healers for the treatment of cancer in Hammanskraal and Winterveld, Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, South Africa
Background: Knowledge of medicinal plants used by the traditional healers are mostly confined among the locals and the adherents, hence, proper enquiry and documentation can help the ever dynamic scientific world to find permanent cure to the menace of such deadly diseases such as cancer. This study aimed at (1) specifically recording medicinal plants traditionally used for the treatment of cancer in Hammanskraal and Winterveld, South Africa, and (2) documenting the different methods of preparation and administration of those medicinal plants as recorded during the study.
Method: An open-ended semi-structured questionnaire was administered to 90 willing traditional healers in Hammanskraal and Winterveld area, Tshwane Municipality, South Africa to document plants used for cancer treatments. The study was conducted over a period of six months (July – December, 2018). Descriptive statistics was used to present the obtained data.
Results: The study recorded twenty-eight plant species belonging to 18 families for the treatment of different types of cancer. Plant species in the Fabaceae family particularly Lessertia frutescens (L.) Goldblatt and J.C. Manning, Senna italica Mill and Trifolium pratense L. were the most prominently mentioned (highest citation frequency) by the traditional healers for lung, and skin cancer treatment. Based on the citation frequency, the most treated cancer by the traditional healers is in the order: skin cancer > lung cancer > breast cancer > prostate cancer > cervical cancer. The method of preparation included decoction
(32.3%), infusion (29%), paste (16.1%) and maceration (22.6%).
Conclusion: In addition to the documentation of indigenous knowledge related to the use of medicinal plants in the traditional management of cancer in South Africa, this study opens a vista for investigations into the phytochemical and pharmacological properties of the documented plants.
Keywords: Cancer; Indigenous plants; Medicinal plants; South Africa; Traditional practitioners.
While African Health Sciences has been freely accessible online there have been questions on whether it is Open Access or not. We wish to clearly state that indeed African Health Sciences is Open Access. There are key issues regarding Open Access needing clarification for avoidance of doubt:
- 1. Henceforth, papers in African Health Sciences will be published under the CC BY (Creative Commons Attribution License) 4.0 International. See details on https://creativecomons.org/)
- 2. The copyright owners or the authors grant the 3rd party (perpetually and in advance) the right to disseminate, reproduce, or use the research papers in part or in full, format/medium as long as:
- No substantive errors are introduced in the process
- Attribution of authorship and correct citation details are given
- The referencing details are not changed.
Should the papers be reproduced in part, this must be clearly stated.
- 3. The papers will be freely and universally accessible online in an easily readable format such as XML in at least one widely recognized open access repository such as PUBMED CENTRAL.
B. ABRIDGED LICENCE AGREEMENT BETWEEN AUTHORS AND African Health Sciences
I submitted my manuscript to African Health Sciences and would like to affirm that:
1.0 I am authorized by my co-authors to enter into these arrangements.
2.0 I guarantee, on behalf of self and co-authors:
- That the paper is original, and has not been published in any other peer-reviewed journal; nor is it under consideration by other journal (s). It does not infringe existing copyright or any other person’s rights
- That we are/I am the sole author(s) of the paper and with authority to enter into this agreement. My granting rights to African Health Sciences is not in breach of any other obligation
- That the paper contains nothing unlawful, or libelous. Nor anything that would constitute a breach of contract, confidence or commitment given to secrecy, if published
- That I/we have taken care to ensure the integrity of the article.