Every year, at the start of spring, the Botanical Society of South Africa holds the Indigenous Plant Fair at the Durban Botanical Gardens. The event, which took place over last weekend, gives people a chance to see the incredible flora indigenous to South Africa, and allows them an opportunity to speak to people in the know when it comes to local plants and their uses.
The Bot Society have produced a handbook to coincide with this year’s fair. The book is available at a variety of nurseries and bookstores, including Adams Bookshop in Musgrave, and contains articles by some of South Africa’s foremost gardeners, landscapers, botanists and naturalists, with practical advice on ways to increase biodiversity and attract birds, butterflies, bats and other wildlife to your garden.
And for those of you who missed the fair, below is a brief look at a few of our indigenous plants purported to have medicinal qualities:
Aloe Ferox, prolific in the eastern parts of South Africa, is a natural ingredient used in the treatment of arthritis, eczema, conjunctivitis, hypertension and stress. It is also helpful as an anti-inflammatory and immuno-modulator.
Another reputed immune-booster is the somewhat infamous African potato, commonly known as Inkomfe. Customarily used as a treatment for complaints of the urinary and reproductive systems, including prostate hypertrophy and testicular tumours, it is also prescribed as a tonic and mood enhancer.
Numerous traditional uses have been attributed to Leonotis, or wild dagga. Interestingly, this includes being smoked for the relief of epilepsy, although the plants is only very mildly narcotic. Externally, the plant is used for various skin complaints and muscle pain. Internally, wild dagga is a commonly used for chest ailments, including bronchitis, influenza and coughs. Relief for headaches, high blood pressure, asthma and viral hepatitis have also been reported.
Information courtesy of health24.com.
Read more about medicinal plants here.