Some Swazi phytomedicines and their constituents

  • OOG Amusan
  • NA Sukati
  • PS Dlamini
  • FG Sibandze
Keywords: Secondary metabolites, medicinal plants, Manzini and Shiselweni regions, Swaziland


Ethnobotanical surveys of Manzini and Shiselweni regions of Swaziland were conducted to document new phytomedicines used in Swaziland and to determine their chemical constituents with a view to
provide the scientific basis of the use of the remedies in traditional medical practice and as a guide to bioprospecting for drugs. The plants collected in the surveys were extracted with suitable solvents and
analysed for secondary metabolites. Sixty one medicinal plants from thirty five families used for treating thirty one diseases were analysed. The medicinal uses of these plants had never been documented
in the pharmacopoeia of Swaziland. Different classes of secondary metabolites were found in the plants, namely alkaloids, anthranoids, flavonoids, glycosides, polyphenols, saponins, steroids and
tannins. Some of the diseases the plants were used to treat are back ache, cardiac problems, chest pain, cough, diabetes, diarrhoea, headache, menorrhagia, snake bite, stomach ache and urino-genital
problems. The presence of these secondary metabolites in the plants was of great importance in the understanding of the basis of the use of the plants in traditional medical practice and may provide a
lead in bioprospecting for new pharmaceutical products of herbal origin.