Curative care through administration of plant-derived medicines in Sekhukhune district municipality of Limpopo province, South Africa
Background: Medicinal plants in South Africa are sources of medicine which is administered to cure existing disease in humans and livestock. Plant-derived decoctions, infusions and powders are administered to cure diseases in humans across gender and age groups. The present study was conducted to describe curative medicine derived from indigenous plants.
Materials and Methods: Structured-interviews with 100 respondents were conducted to elicit data about the indigenous plantderived medicines administered to cure disease in human beings.
Results: Thirty eight species of medicinal plants belonging to 28 families were identified and recorded as sources of medicine administered for curative purposes. Sources of medicine were mostly herbs followed by shrubs, trees, creepers and aloe collected from the communal land. The leaves, bark, roots and bulbs were prepared into decoctions and infusions administered orally and by inhalation and ritual bath to cure varieties of diseases.
Conclusion: A rich medical ethnobotanical knowledge is observed. Curative care is offered by traditional health practitioners and ordinary community members with knowledge of plant-derived medicines. The plant-based medicines identified in the study could be tested of their efficacy, validated and used to promote primary health care services at household level.
Key words: Primary health care, remedial care, traditional health practitioner, plant medicine, Sekhukhune.