Ethnobotany and Toxicity Status of Medicinal Plants with Cosmeceutical Relevance from Eastern Cape, South Africa

Ashwell R. Ndhlala*, Vuyisile S. Thibane, Cecilia M. Masehla, Phatlane W. Mokwala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The indigenous people of the Eastern Cape residing within the richest plant biodiversity in the world, including Africa’s floral ‘gold mine’, have a long history of plant use for skincare. However, such rich flora comes with numerous plants that have the potential to cause harm to humans through their usage. Therefore, the study was aimed at documenting the toxicity status of important medicinal plants used by the indigenous people from the Eastern Cape for skincare and supported by literature for cosmeceutical relevance. A list of plants used for skincare was produced following an ethnobotanical survey. In addition, data on the level of toxicity and cosmeceutical relevance of plants listed from the survey were collected from literature resources. The study listed a total of 38 plants from 25 plant families, the majority being represented by the Asphodelaceae and Asteraceae, both at 13.2%. The most preferred plant parts were the leaves (60.4%) indicating sustainable harvesting practices by the community. The literature reports validated 70% of the medicinal plants surveyed for skincare were nontoxic. Most of the plants can be incorporated in the formulation of products intended for skincare due to their low toxicity and high cosmeceutical relevance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1451
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • cosmeceutical
  • medicinal plants
  • natural products
  • skincare
  • toxicity


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