An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used by traditional healers for the treatment of cancer in Hammanskraal and Winterveld, Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, South Africa

Idris Olawale Raimi*, Boikanyo G. Kopaopa, Liziwe L. Mugivhisa, Francis B. Lewu, Stephen O. Amoo, Joshua O. Olowoyo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1746-1753
Number of pages8
JournalAfrican Health Sciences
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Indigenous plants
  • Medicinal plants
  • South Africa
  • Traditional practitioners

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