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Physical appraisal and attributes of <i>Monsonia burkeana</i> (special tea): the perspective of tea users

Livhuwani Ronald Nnzeru
Khayalethu Ntushelo
Fhatuwani Nixwell Mudau


The article is based on the study of the special tea (Monsonia burkeana) which is a herbal medicine used for blood cleansing, in the treatment of erectile dysfunction and to improve libido. A survey on the level of awareness about the plant was conducted in selected villages and townships of Polokwane municipality in Limpopo, South Africa. 

A questionnaire was designed to gather biographical information, information about the physical traits of special tea, propagation of the plant, changes in availability, harvesting season, frequency of harvesting, quantities harvested, tea and medicinal preparations, tea uses and effectiveness in curing diseases. The data was collected by means of semistructured questionnaires. 

Sixty-seven questionnaires were administered to respondents selected randomly from the study area. The interviewees were traditional healers/African Zionists, sellers of the tea, people with indigenous knowledge and ordinary users of the special tea. This study showed that local people in Polokwane municipality, where this tea is predominantly used, are knowledgeable about the plant’s identity, its physical environment, handling and uses, and rely on special tea to treat a wide range of human ailments. 

The study illustrates the importance of special tea in the treatment of ailments in rural areas of South Africa. It was found that medicinal plants still play an important role in the healthcare system in rural areas. Efforts should, therefore, be made to document and conserve the ethnobotanical knowledge and practices that are available and efforts should be made to domesticate the plants.

Keywords: Tea uses, Monsonia burkeana, physical traits