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Title: Ethnobotanical review of plants used for the management and treatment of childhood diseases and well-being in South Africa.
Authors: Otang-Mbeng, Wilfred.
School of Agricultural Sciences
Keywords: Childcare.;Conservation.;Ethnobotanical surveys.;Indigenous knowledge.;Non-communicable diseases.;Traditional medicine.;Paediatric diseases.
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Elsevier
Abstract: Childhood diseases represent a sizeable proportion of mortality burden that could potentially be alleviated when effectively managed. In South Africa, the use of medicinal plants against different diseases and for the general well-being in children is enriched in the culture of different ethnic groups. However, the potential associated with this aspect of traditional medicine remain understudied and poorly-explored. This review critically assessed the existing knowledge on the use of plants for the management of childhood diseases and well-being in South Africa. Information regarding plants used for childhood diseases were obtained from different scientific databases and ethnobotanical books. A total of 194 plants from 66 families have been documented as remedies for childhood diseases and well-being across 7 provinces in South Africa. Rhoicissus tridentata, Gomphocarpus fruticosus, Vachellia karroo and Kigelia africana were among the most popular plants based on the number of mentions (3 4) in the assessed literature. Furthermore, Agathosma capensis, Bidens pilosa, Peltophorum africanum and Microglossa mespilifolia were among the most versatile plants with high (> 5) number of uses against different conditions in children. The plant families mostly represented (each with 11 33 plants) included Asteraceae, Leguminosae, Solanaceae, Asparagaceae and Xanthorrhoeaceae. The majority of the plants were used against non-infectious diseases (and general well-being), while others had applications against infectious diseases such as colds/influenza and tuberculosis. In terms of conservation status, the majority (84%) of the plants were reported to be of ‘least concern’, 12% were ‘invasive alien species (lacking conservation status in the Red List of South African Plants), while 4% (rare, near threatened and endangered) remain of a high conservation concern. Evidence from the limited ethnobotanical surveys reveal the importance of medicinal plants for the management and treatment of diverse health conditions in children. The absence of plant inventory for some of the provinces and ethnic groups in South Africa requires urgent attention due to the possible loss of such valuable indigenous knowledge over-time. In addition, the absence of the specific medicinal uses for a significant portion of the plants remained a major challenge that need to be addressed in future research endeavours.
Description: Please note that only UMP researchers are shown in the metadata. To access the co-authors, please view the full text.
DOI: 10.1016/j.sajb.2020.10.012
Appears in Collections:Journal articles

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