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Title: Plant species used for cosmetic and cosmeceutical purposes by the Vhavenda women in Vhembe District municipality, Limpopo, South Africa.
Authors: Otang-Mbeng, Wilfred.
School of Biology and Environmental Sciences
Keywords: Biodiversity.;Ethnobotanical survey.;Indigenous knowledge.;Medicinal plants.;Skin diseases.;Phytocosmetics.;Vhavenda women.
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Elsevier
Abstract: The uses of plant species have a long history and become important sources of welfare and healthcare in South Africa. These plant species and their associated indigenous knowledge may be lost due to rapid change in socio-economic and environmental conditions. The aim of the study was to document the plant species used as natural-based cosmetics and cosmeceuticals by the Vhavenda women in Vhembe district municipality, Limpopo province, South Africa. Ethnobotanical information such as the local names of plants, method of preparation and administration were collected among 79 Vhavenda women who were knowledgeable in phytocosmestics using semi-structured questionnaires. Thereafter, quantitative ethnobotanical indices, including frequency of citation (FC) and cultural importance index (CI), were calculated. A total of 49 plant species from 31 families were identified as natural-based cosmetics and cosmeceuticals by the Vhavenda women in Vhembe district. Dicerocaryum zanguebaricum (Museto) and Ricinus communis (Mupfure) were the most commonly cited plants. In terms of families, Leguminosae had the highest (4) number of plants while Meliaceae and Rhamnaceae had three (3) plants. Leaves and bark were the most frequent used plant parts. Furthermore, maceration and poultice were the most common preparation methods that were used to prepare these plants. The majority (75%) of plant preparations were applied topically. The current findings reveal the richness of indigenous knowledge on plant-based cosmetics and cosmeceuticals among the Vhavenda women. If properly explored, potential low-cost product(s) can be developed which can strengthen the socio-economic well-being of the Vhavenda women in South Africa. However, there will be a need to conduct laboratory-based experiments to establish the efficacy and safety of these documented plants using relevant biological assays.
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