Ethnobotanical survey of plants used by Bapedi traditional tuberculosis and its opportunistic infections in the Limpopo Province, South Africa

19 Nov 2019

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Bapedi phytomedicine employ a range of plant species to treat diabetes mellitus (DM). Existing literature partially support the use of certain species for this purpose. AIM OF THE STUDY: To report on Bapedi medicinal plants employed to treat DM. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A semi-structured questionnaire was employed to conduct a survey on medicinal plants used by Bapedi traditional healers in their DM management protocol. Fifty-two traditional healers from 16 municipalities, covering three districts, were interviewed during the first half of 2011. RESULTS: A total of 24 plant species belonging to 20 families, mostly from the Asteraceae (13%), Cucurbitaceae and Sapotaceae (8%), were used to treat diabetes mellitus. Plant parts mostly preferred were roots and leaves. A decoction of these is most commonly used to make extracts, which are then taken orally for a period of one week. Mimusops zeyheri (29%), Helichrysum caespititium (25%), Plumeria obtusa (21%), Aloe marlothii subsp. marlothii, Hypoxis iridifolia and Moringa oleifera (17% each), were repeatedly mentioned by the traditional healers as most used for the management of diabetes mellitus in the study area. Plumeria obtusa and Momordica balsamina are exclusively used to treat diabetes mellitus, and only in the Sekhukhune District. CONCLUSION: It is concluded that Bapedi traditional healers do have a basic understanding of the causes and remedial action required in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.