Ethnomedicinal Uses of Fabaceae Species for Respiratory Infections and Related Symptoms in the Limpopo Province, South Africa – Pages 219-229

Ethnomedicinal Uses of Fabaceae Species for Respiratory Infections and Related Symptoms in the Limpopo Province, South Africa

Pages 219-229

Sebua Silas Semenya1 and Alfred Maroyi2

1Technology Transfer Office, Research Administration and Development Department, University of Limpopo, Private Bag X1106, Sovenga 0727, South Africa; 2Medicinal Plants and Economic Development (MPED) Research Centre, Department of Botany, University of Fort Hare, Private Bag X1314, Alice 5700, South Africa

DOI: https://doi.org/120.29169/1927-5951.2018.08.04.10

Abstract: Purpose: The present study investigated utilisation of Fabaceae species as herbal medicines for respiratory infections and related symptoms in the Limpopo Province, South Africa.

Methods: Information on Fabaceae species used as herbal medicines against respiratory infections was gathered using semi-structured questionnaires during face-to-face interviews with 240 Pedi speaking traditional healers (THs) from May to July 2017. Voucher specimens of utilized plant species were collected and their identities and scientific names authenticated by a plant taxonomist at the University of Limpopo’s Larry Leach Herbarium.

Results: Twenty-five plant species belonging to 16 genera were used by THs in treating 13 respiratory infections. Majority of the species (64.0%, n=16) were multi-used while 36.0% (n=9) treated a single condition each. Plants which showed the highest fidelity level (FL) scores included Acacia senegal (chronic cough=FL; 32.8, chest pain=FL; 32.8, tuberculosis=FL; 32.8), Dichrostachys cinerea (tuberculosis= FL; 100) and Acacia erioloba (pneumonia=FL; 92.7). These species were also characterized by high use value (UV) indices of 2.5, 0.82 and 0.58, respectively.

Conclusion: Some of the plants recorded in this study are reported in literature to have potent biological activities against diverse pathogens which cause respiratory infections and perceived symptoms.

Keywords: Fabaceae, Limpopo province, medicinal plants, South Africa, traditional healers.