Medicinal plant use in the Dwarsrivier Valley, Stellenbosch
Plants have been used as medicine since antiquity. Passed on by word of mouth through the generations, this oral tradition is at risk of becoming extinct due to westernization and lack of documentation. The community in the Dwarsrivier valley is one such community who continues to use these medicinal plant remedies on a daily basis. However, these remedies are at risk of becoming extinct due to a lack of interest from the younger generation. The objectives of the study were to identify the plants used for medicinal purposes, provide an inventory and select several plants for elemental analysis and phytochemical screening. Individuals were selected based on their ethnobotanical knowledge and agreed to participate in the study. Over 40 individuals were interviewed from the four communities; Pniel, Lanquedoc, Meerlust and Kylemore. Of the 40 participants interviewed, 25 participants agreed to complete questionnaires. The survey yielded 53 plant species belonging to 31 families of which only 24 are indigenous. Although more exotic plants are used compared to indigenous, the indigenous plants were the more popular choice for medicinal use. Most plants belonged to the Lamiaceae family followed by Asteraceae, Alliaceae, Apiaceae and Rosaceae. The most popular plants in terms of ranking are Agathosma crenulata followed by Artemisia afra and Helichrysum petiolare. This is the first report of Protea cynaroides, Cissus rhombifolia, Canna spp. and Dilatris viscosa used for medicinal purposes.