Materia medica and care : a study of the uses of medicinal herbs and remedies as a form of treatment and negotiating social relationships in Cape Town and surroundings
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This study falls within the framework of the larger multidisciplinary university health initiative (MUTHI) objectives to investigate and document the use of local medicinal plants for the treatment of HIV and symptoms of related opportunistic infections such as tuberculosis, thrush and shingles in the Western Cape. The study stems from twelve months fieldwork in Strand, Western Cape and the collection of plants from Mpoza, Eastern Cape for a variety of reasons. The study ethnographically documents when, under which circumstances and where plants are collected for use.As far as I am aware this is the first anthropological study which "follows" traditional healers in the Western Cape to a site in the Eastern Cape where they collect plants. Seventeen plants were collected from different genera which traditional healers reported to use as treatment for suspected HIV and related symptoms. For each plant I describe the medicinal uses,preparatory techniques and plant parts used as suggested by traditional healers. I also explore healer's aetiologies concerning plants, treatments and the social-material relations which are prevalent in my research settings.