Zulu Healer Muthi Gardens: Inspiration for Botanic Garden Displays and Community Outreach Projects

N.R. Crouch and A. Hutchings
Natal Herbarium, Botanic Gardens Road, Durban 4001.
Department of Botany, University of Zululand


Home | Contents | Abstract | Introduction | Garden Survey | Methodology | Results | Discussion | Application of Findings | Display | Display Expansion | Interpretation and Education | Community outreach - horticultural capacity building | Conclusions | Acknowledgements | Table 1 | References | Figures | Photographs



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Abstract

The experiences of researchers, and the expertise and efforts of the local traditional healer community have been integrated in the course of establishing a medicinal plant display in the form of a simulated healers’ garden at the Natal National Botanical Garden (Natal NBG) in Pietermaritzburg. This is the first to be implemented in the eight National Botanical Gardens of the National Botanical Institute (NBI). Inspiration for the display came from research which documented medicinal plant home cultivation by traditional healers. In the course of surveying five healers’ gardens, 198 taxa have been catalogued; these have been analysed in terms of geographic origin, trade, broad usage and morphological attributes. Of these, 30% are not indigenous to South Africa, 44% have not previously been recorded as used in traditional Zulu medicine, 8% are Red Data Book (RDB) listed, 61% are "succulent", and 68% have not been recorded from local medicinal plant markets. Twenty - three taxa found in three or more gardens are highlighted. Findings indicate the adaptability of the healing practice and of its potential to solve some of its own availability problems and so have been considered in the course of developing practical medicinal plant cultivation courses. These, together with displays, will provide opportunities for building positive links with local communities, NGO’s, civic authorities, and parastatals. Displays further serve as sites for the ex situ conservation of threatened medicinal plants, and as horticultural research locations.

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Introduction

Over the last twenty years, the proportion of subscribers to traditional medical care in South Africa has remained in the region of 80% of the population (Ellis, 1986; Holdstock, 1978; Mander 1998), even in urban environments. Indigenous plants underpin traditional healing practices, and accordingly are extensively wild-harvested and traded in urban markets, muthi shops, and by traditional healers themselves (Mander, 1998). Concern about the effects of extensive trade in medico-magical or muthi plants in South Africa was expressed by Gerstner as early as 1946 who estimated that a hundred to two hundred kinds of barks and roots of woody plants were being sold by herbalists. Growing concern over the threat to medicinal plant diversity has led to further cataloguing (Cunningham, 1988; Mander; 1997; 1998; Williams, 1996) which has revealed a trade in South Africa of some 700 taxa, estimated at 19 500 tonnes of plant material per annum in support of some 90 million use events (Mander, 1998). The trade in South African medicinal plants has developed into an international one, with regional movement of plants between several neighbouring countries, including Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho (Cunningham, 1988; 1990; Mander, 1997; 1998). Most harvesting is destructive and unsustainable (Cunningham, 1989; 1990) with the result that a number of taxa such as Siphonochilus aethiopicus (Schweinf.) B.L.Burtt (Wild Ginger) have become locally extinct (Hilton - Taylor, 1996). The conservation through cultivation of medicinal plants has long been mooted in South Africa (Gerstner, 1946), but only recently addressed at any significant level with the development of the Silverglen Medicinal Plant Nursery in Durban (Nichols, 1990). Here, traditional healers undertake a three day horticultural training course, so empowering them to grow muthi, and hence make a contribution to conservation (Mattson, 1994; Symmonds, 1998).

There has however, been a notable lack of documentation on plants grown by healers for their own use (the amakhambi, or herbs typically grown by traditional medical practitioners), apart from those reported in the Silverglen experiments. Our literature survey has yielded few references to cultivation. Gerstner (1938) reported on the frequent growing of Aptenia cordifolia (L.f.) Schwant. on kraal fences such that this useful anti-inflammatory would "be always at hand". Regional accounts document the growing of Chenopodium ambrosioides L. in Malawi for its reputed trance-inducing qualities (Hargreaves, 1986), Melianthus comosus Vahl for the treatment of snake-bite in the Eastern Cape (Smith, 1895), and fennel and dill as protective charms by the Zulu (Palmer, 1985). In his study on the Tswana, Schapera (1953) observed that "occasionally [the doctor] plants specimens of the rarer growths in his compound" but suggested that most plants were gathered directly from the veld when required. In the course of fieldwork conducted in that area of the Eastern Cape previously known as the Transkei, one of us (A.H.) had the opportunity to observe cultivated medicinal plants in gardens of some of the interviewed healers (Hutchings, 1989). Only a few of the plants reported to be used were cultivated, most were still being collected fresh from the wild and material that could not be locally obtained was bought from vendors or shops. We have since been able to observe gardens cultivated by healers in Kwazulu-Natal. Some plants are quite commonly cultivated as protective charms in rural Xhosa and Zulu homesteads. These include Gasteria and Haworthia species which are often grown in containers on hut roofs as a protection against lightning (Smith et al., 1997a; 1997b). Agapanthus spp. are grown in gardens for similar purposes, whilst garlic-scented Tulbaghia spp. are often planted around huts to deter snakes. Hargreaves (1986) similarly reported on cultivation of the foul - smelling Chenopodium ambrosioides near homes to keep snakes away. A.H. was once asked by a community leader to talk to a group of women about the plants "our grandmothers used to grow", which suggests that home cultivation of household remedies for minor ailments was perhaps more widely practiced in the past than it is now. However, the more extensive cultivation by traditional healers of plants needed for medicinal purposes appears to be a recent, albeit limited phenomenon. A number of cultural factors (gender issues and traditional beliefs) that may account for apparent inhibitions have been cited by Prins (1996a).

The current project was initiated not only to fill a gap in our knowledge but also to confirm usage of and observe any apparent changes to the Zulu healing tradition as recorded in a recent inventory on the subject (Hutchings, 1996). This research allowed for an evaluation of the potential role of healers in future strategies aimed at the sustainable utilisation of medicinal plants, this subsequently inspiring the development of botanic garden displays and associated community outreach projects.

In this paper we present a broad analysis of the nearly 200 taxa we have so far catalogued in our survey of five healers’ gardens and table 23 taxa common to at least three of the gardens. We relate this to the development of appropriate technology and information transfer to the healer community. Information on the background of participating healers and their role in community development, possible motivation for the selection of new plant material and a full inventory of the plants grown will be detailed in a forthcoming publication.

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Garden Survey

Methodology

Five gardens of healers well known to the authors were included in the preliminary study. Four of the healers are active members of the Inyangas National Association and two have participated in the Silverglen training course. Their gardens are located in:

Plants growing in the gardens were recorded in the presence of the healer. Each garden was visited on at least three occasions. Zulu names were recorded where known and plants were photographed so that a voucher collection could be compiled without depriving healers of useful and often limited material. All slides have been numbered and form part of the NBI ethnobotanical slide collection documented by N.C. at the Natal Herbarium. Identification of the species has been confirmed by ourselves with the help of Herbarium staff members. Where identification was problematic, further visits to the gardens were undertaken. Healers were asked to distinguish between protective charm use (PC), and medicinal applications (MED). Further details on usage were sometimes volunteered but were not asked for as this might have intruded upon traditional taboos (Prins, 1996b) or intellectual property rights for information not already in the public domain. Botanical names, indigenous status, and distributions are in accord with Arnold and de Wet (1993). Zulu names were obtained from participants, and also from Hutchings (1996). The degree of succulence was investigated to assess the drought-hardiness of plants grown. As both taxa with avoidance and tolerance strategies may be considered drought-hardy, all geophytes (here defined as plants which survive periodic drought by means of underground, swollen, perennial water storage organs) were noted, and considered semi-succulent. No cognisance was taken of whether these organs (rhizomes, bulbs, tubers, lignotubers, corms, etc.) permitted survival of drought during the growing or dormant phases. This view necessitated an extension of the definition of succulence provided by Smith et al. (1997c). Other data were catalogued as defined in the footnote to Table 1.

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Results

The analyses presented are of all 198 taxa recorded in the five gardens. Each site was characterised by a high species diversity, and low numbers of individuals. Dicots were slightly more prevalent (at 56%) than monocots (42%), with gymnosperms and pteridophytes poorly represented at 2%. Succulent and semi-succulent taxa predominated: only 39% of taxa were not geophytic or succulent in leaf or stem (Figure 1). The best represented monocotyledonous families were the Aloaceae and Hyacinthaceae (Figure 2), and the Euphorbiaceae, Cactaceae and Asclepiadaceae within the dicots (Figure 3). With nine taxa recorded grown, the Cactaceae was particularly well represented for a largely exotic family (the only indigenous African species is Rhipsalis baccifera (J.Mill.) Stearn). Only one taxon, the naturalised Catharanthus roseus (L.) G.Don (Apocynaceae) was found in all five gardens. Nine species were represented in four gardens and thirteen recorded from three (Table 1). The largest proportion (45%) of taxa served both medicinal and magical (protective charm) functions, followed by solely medicinals, and singly protective charms (Figure 4). Only 2% of plants were grown for their aesthetic qualities, and less than 5% were grown for their edible fruit (Figure 4), with most of these "fruit" selections also considered medicinal (e.g. use of Psidium guajava L. bark as a treatment for diarrhoea). A full third of garden subjects were extra-provincial exotics, mostly from outside of South Africa (Figure 5). Evidently, much Zulu ethnomedico-magical practice remains uncatalogued: 44% of taxa grown had not previously been documented, and 68% had not been recorded at local muthi markets. The majority of plants grown (92%) were not Red Data Book listed (Figure 6) and in many cases (e.g. Tetradenia riparia (Hochst.) Codd) are widespread and not at all threatened or scarce. Five percent of taxa are listed as Vulnerable, 1% as Rare, and 2% as Insufficiently Known (Hilton-Taylor, 1996). Some cultivated taxa have been declared alien invaders (e.g. Melia azedarach L. and Lantana camara L.). The dominant life form encountered was herbs, followed by trees, shrubs, and lianes/creepers (Figure 7). Table 1 provides information on the most popularly grown plants, that is plants found in three or more of the five gardens investigated. These were limited to 23 taxa. Of these, five species are not indigenous to South Africa and one is extra - provincial, four species have not previously been recorded as used in traditional Zulu medicine, and six species are RDB listed (Table 1).

Discussion

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Cultivated Plant Characters

Efforts to encourage the cultivation of Zulu medicinal plants have largely centered on the promotion of nursery - scale efforts which emphasise the production of large quantities of a few, over - exploited (often RDB listed) taxa such as Siphonochilus aethiopicus and Warburgia salutaris (Bertol.f.) Chiov. for market supply (Nichols, 1990). Although healer home gardens differ fundamentally in being species-rich and low in numbers of individuals, if commonplace they could significantly contribute towards the sustainable use of muthi plants. The low proportion (8%) of cultivated taxa which are RDB listed (Hilton - Taylor, 1996) indicates that muthi selection as garden subjects was not based solely on rarity and associated supply difficulties. However, it may be significant that the most commonly grown taxa (Table 1) included a high proportion of the RDB listed taxa identified. It is encouraging to note that four of the five healers were cultivating Warburgia salutaris, identified by Gerstner in 1946 as the Zulu medicinal tree most in danger of extinction.

The prominence in subjects of a succulent, drought-hardy character is reflected by the five most well represented families, the Aloaceae, Hyacinthaceae, Asclepiadaceae, Cactaceae, and Euphorbiaceae (Figures 2 and 3). When not succulent, cultivated plants were typically weedy or otherwise tough and vigorous. Two examples from Table 1 demonstrate this: Catharanthus roseus is a widely dispersed weed of the tropics and sub-tropics (Sheldon et al., 1997), and mature Warburgia salutaris trees reportedly regenerate bark following extensive de-barking of the lower trunk (Cunningham, 1991). Damaged roots of Warburgia also readily coppice (Nichols, 1990). At three of the gardens, water for household use had to be collected and carried from streams in the district, up to 2 km away. Given its precious status, and the semi-arid nature of the environment, very little water can be afforded for the irrigation of plants, which consequently depend upon natural precipitation. Even in the two township (municipal) gardens investigated where water was on tap, very little watering of plants was reportedly conducted, reflecting the high value placed on this scarce resource. These observations would in part account for the prominence of succulence encountered.

The pronounced exotic character of plants grown indicates the adaptability of the healing practice, and of its potential ability to solve some of its own availability problems. Ironically, the most commonly grown species (C. roseus) was an exotic, which could also signal a move to accessible substitutes. The high proportion of taxa (44%) not previously documented as Zulu medicinals is further evidence of the progressive and evolving character of the profession, and of the need for ongoing inventorying work.

In considering broad usage categories, the most common class of plants cultivated were those which had multiple applications, particularly those used as both medicines and protective charms. Despite the horticultural attributes of a high proportion of the (mainly exotic) taxa, very few (2%) were grown for their aesthetic values. Thus plants such as the variegated form of Chlorophytum comosum (Thunb.) Jacq., Tradescantia discolor Vell., Catharanthus roseus, Eleutherine bulbosa (Miller) Urban and Dietes flavida Oberm. were all accommodated in gardens for their non-aesthetic qualities.

The efforts of the Silverglen project have largely concentrated on the conservation of medicinal tree species, the root- or stem-barks from which are normally used. This has been justified by market surveys (Cunningham, 1988; Mander, 1998) which have revealed the popularity and extensive utilisation of tree products, Mander (1998) for example reporting that bark and roots accounted for 54% of the plant parts traded in Kwazulu-Natal. The current garden survey has shown (Figure 7) that herbaceous taxa are more popularly cultivated than arborescent ones. Although this situation likely relates to effort-returns in the short term, cognisance should be taken by educators of current healer practices if the "seed" culture of cultivation is to be effectively disseminated and advanced.

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Perceived Constraints and Advantages

Perceptions of the relative strengths of wild harvested, market traded and cultivated materials appear to differ from one healer to the next. At a meeting held some years ago to discuss conservation, a leading member of the Inyangas National Association pointed out that although cultivated plants sometimes lacked the strength of those harvested from the wild, they could still be used, with suitable adjustments being made. A healer from Kamberg suggested that whilst market traded products (originally from the wild) were polluted by those selling them, plants grown or collected by healers themselves were equally "powerful" (E. Ndlovu, pers com.). Healers generally acknowledged that cultivated plants can be less potent than customarily harvested wild materials, but indicated that procedures and rituals could be conducted to reverse this status. Newly planted specimens would for example, be carefully watered and tended until established, and then purposely left to the elements. Additionally, the potency of deficient materials could be boosted by wrapping the item in snake’s skin for a period. Pollution taboos relating to the touching of certain plants such as Synadenium cupulare (Boiss.) L.C.Wheeler could be remedied through animal sacrifices. Although cultural restraints appear to limit the establishment of gardens or nurseries by healers, and hence this conservation-through-cultivation approach, Prins (1996a) has provided insight to the customary avoidances and taboos of conservative healers which relate to pollution-potency concepts, and ancestor cults. Sensitisation of conservationists and nurserymen to these and the gender issues involved should allow for traditional belief systems and muthi cultivation to be more generally integrated and promoted (Prins, 1996a).

Perceived advantages and reasons given for healers growing their own medicinal plants included achieving:

All but the last point were cited by healers themselves.

Application of Findings

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Display

In the course of the study, it became evident that the data we were amassing could form the basis of cultural displays in the NBI gardens in accord with their ongoing transformation. Internal, cross - directorate links were formed between NBI interpretation, research and horticultural staff, and externally with various role players, including a traditional healers’ association (community based organisation, CBO), local conservation authorities (provincial and municipal), Silverglen staff, and the local Institute of Natural Resources. A selection of suitable taxa for the garden displays was made from our research findings, and the CBO contracted to proceed with the construction of a healer’s hut designed in the traditional beehive style. Three traditional healers built the hut, led by Tr. Dr Lindiwe Xulu. Mostly traditional materials were employed, namely common thatchgrass Hyparrhenia hirta(L.) Stapf, black wattle Acacia mearnsii De Wild. (saplings for hut walls), Natal fig bark Ficus natalensis Hochst. (binding material), and rock alder Canthium mundianum Cham. & Schlechtd. for the central pole support (Roff et al., 1997). Community participation at this level has ensured that the muthi display is accepted by the healer community, and by people who have not previously used the Natal garden as a recreational, educational or training resource. In drawing on the expertise and perspective of local communities, an authenticity and sensitivity in presentation has resulted. About this central hut feature the horticultural staff constructed a simulated Zulu healer’s muthi garden (Figure 8), designed to educate on traditional plant use and associated conservation issues. In traditional style, the garden perimeter has been delimited by an indigenous Aloe arborescens Mill. and Euphorbia tirucalli L. hedge.

Although a traditional healer’s garden was chosen as the theme for a medicinal plant display in order to realistically display the amakhambi of Kwazulu-Natal, it also recognises those healers who, as growers, are already making a contribution to plant conservation. In reflecting the research findings, a number of hitherto unknown Zulu medicinal taxa are presented (e.g. Cymbopogon citratus (Nees) Stapf), many of which are herbaceous plants cultivated for both their medicinal and magical value. Additionally, a majority of displayed taxa are succulent in leaf or stem, or semi-succulent geophytes which complement the observed water-wise character of traditional healers’ gardens. Plants of purely magical or superstitious value feature prominently, reflecting their widespread use.

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Display Expansion

It is planned for the muthi garden to be integrated in a larger traditional plant-use garden, where craft, construction, food and other useful plants will be grown and appropriately interpreted. This larger display will be linked to a sustainable agriculture demonstration garden of relevance to an increasing population with basic food, medicine, and skills needs (Roff, 1998). Although displays are to be focused in one area of the garden, they will in time be complemented by self-guided medicinal plant trails leading through both formal and natural garden landscapes (Crouch, 1996). The Natal NBG, as with other National Botanical Gardens has an ‘estate’ or natural area section which is currently maintained in or is being restored to its original pristine state. A high diversity of medicinal plants occur within these tracts.

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Interpretation and Education

Medicinal and charm plants hold allure for westerners and traditional users alike, and well arranged and meaningfully interpreted displays of them are likely to attract significant attention. Display aspects stress the process rather than product character of the project (Roff, 1998). These have been responsive to change, in order to remain relevant and issues-based, a principle applied to interpretation and education, given that materials change as new partnerships and networks are built around the display. A series of interpretation forms have been implemented. As part of a "walk and talk" programme, formal and informal guided tours are offered, providing the most effective way of experiencing an exhibit such as this, with its wealth of cultural and biological information. Interpretive materials in the garden are pitched at different levels, the simplest of which are small labels offering Latin binomials, as well as vernacular names. At the next level, labels additionally offer traditional uses, and "did you know?" style information. Some displays are interactive, encouraging visitors to touch, smell or otherwise engage their senses with the plants. The Zulu beehive hut houses lighted poster displays which describe the context and diversity of Zulu ethnomedical practices and the conservation through cultivation of muthi plants. Given the toxic potential of some medicinal plants, occasional warning signs have been posted (Roff, 1998).

Judging from the visitor response so far, the muthi garden has provided some fascinating insight to the cultural traditions of Kwazulu-Natal, which appeal to many other cultures and nationalities. It is hoped that this development will serve not only as a drawcard to the Natal garden, but that it will also contribute significantly to the conservation and awareness of the extraordinary wealth of South African plants and plant lore.

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Community Outreach - Horticultural Capacity Building

Interpretation and Education

The garden display not only reflects the state of traditional healing in the province, but will also be used as a resource for teaching traditional healers the skills required to successfully grow and nurture their own amakhambi, so enabling them to grow materials at home. Courses will hopefully attract the interest of, and build capacity in plant gatherers, traders, entrepreneurs and others whose business may threaten the long-term survival of the local medicinal flora. Indirectly, this serves basic needs in communities surrounding the Natal NBG.

A culture of home cultivation is evident amongst some Zulu traditional healers, an understanding of which could direct efforts to promote and stimulate this. Accordingly, and on the assumption that these garden profiles represent healer muthi requirements and aspirations, it is recommended that training courses emphasise the cultivation and propagation of:

The application of the horticultural expertise and facilities of the Natal garden, complemented by the shared Silverglen training experience, should result in a successful and focused training programme. Through offering such training, the NBI will build co-operative partnerships with community-based organisations, whilst simultaneously fulfilling its aim of promoting the sustainable use and development of South Africa’s botanical resources. As a source of practical advice on how to grow muthi plants in the eastern region of South Africa, a very low - priced booklet by Mander et al. (1995) is on sale to garden visitors. This guide has already been translated into Zulu and should shortly be published.

Conclusions

Field research on the character of traditional healers’ gardens has indicated that a "seed" culture of home medicinal plant cultivation exists. In revealing a contribution towards the sustainable utilisation of this useful plant class, the survey has inspired the development of a medicinal plant display at the Natal NBG, and helped direct the development of appropriate technology horticultural training courses to be offered. Cognisance has been taken of healer needs, of reasons for the selection of materials, and of the physical parameters limiting what can be grown in typical garden environments. Overall, it is hoped that muthi plant displays such as this, with their multi - cultural appeal, will attract wide interest, and serve to normalise visitor profiles to the National Botanical Gardens. In addition to reflecting the state of traditional healing in South Africa, the medicinal plant display at the Natal NBG is contributing to the realisation of a number of other objectives (Crouch, 1996), which include:

With eight NBG’s situated in five provinces, for which plans to establish such displays and community outreach projects are already in place, the NBI is poised to positively impact on the lives of many South Africans.

Acknowledgments

The authenticity of this display would not have been possible without the healers involved in the gardens survey having consistently and generously given of their knowledge and time. The late Tr. Dr John Mthethwa will be sorely missed, not only for his wisdom and knowledge, but also for his enthusiasm and vision for the future. Tr. Drs Enoch Shoba, John Mathe, Joyce Mndunge, and Simon Mhlaba are also thanked for their contribution. The Mazda Wildlife Fund is thanked for supporting the Ethnobotany Programme of the NBI. The DEAT has promoted the development of MEDBASE, the National Medicinal Plants Database for South Africa. Dr T. Crouch kindly prepared the figures.


Table 1. Plant taxa grown in at least three of the five healer gardens surveyed in Kwazulu-Natal.

Family

Taxon

Zulu name(s)

Slide Voucher

aIndigenous

Status

bCons.

Status

Life form

cSucculence

dNew

Record

eUsage Category

fNo of Gardens

gTraded

GYMNOSPERMS

                   

Stangeriaceae

Stangeria eriopus (Kunze) Baill.

imfingo, infingo

1113

KZN

R

shrub

SEMI-SUCC.

NO

PC/MED

4

YES

Zamiaceae

Encephalartos cf. ngoyanus Verdoorn

icigi nkonkovo; isigqikisomkhovu

887

KZN

V

shrub

SEMI-SUCC.

YES

PC/MED

4

NO

MONOCOTS

                     

Alliaceae

Agapanthus praecox Willd.

ubani

1119

KZN

nt

herb

SEMI-SUCC.

NO

PC/MED

3

NO

 

Tulbaghia simmleri Beauv.

umwelela-kweliphesheya

1112

SA

nt

herb

SEMI-SUCC.

YES

PC/MED

3

NO

 

Tulbaghia violaceae Harv.

ishladi-lezinyoka, isikhwa

875

KZN

nt

herb

SEMI-SUCC.

NO

PC

3

NO

Aloaceae

Aloe ferox Mill.

umhlaba

67

KZN

nt

tree

LEAF

NO

MED

3

NO

 

Aloe maculata All.

icena

1093

KZN

nt

shrub

LEAF

NO

PC/MED

3

NO

 

Haworthia limifolia Marloth var. limifolia

isihlalakahle, umathithibala

56

KZN

V

herb

LEAF

NO

PC

4

YES

Amaryllidaceae

Crinum macowanii Bak.

umduze

64

KZN

nt

herb

SEMI-SUCC.

NO

MED

3

YES

Asphodelaceae

Bulbine frutescens (L.) Willd.

ithethe elimpofu, ibhucu, inembe

61

KZN

nt

herb

LEAF

NO

PC/MED

4

NO

Dioscoreaceae

Dioscorea dregeana (Kunth) Dur. & Schinz

udakwa, ingcolo, ilabatheka

1168

KZN

nt

liane

SEMI-SUCC.

NO

PC/MED

3

YES

 

Sansevieria hyacinthoides (L.) Druce

isikholokhoto, isitokotoko, isikwendle

1090

KZN

nt

herb

SEMI-SUCC.

NO

PC/MED

4

YES

Hyacinthaceae

Drimiopsis maculata Lindl.

ucibibane, injobo, mbabaza

1169

KZN

nt

herb

SEMI-SUCC.

NO

PC/MED

3

YES

Iridaceae

Dietes flavida Oberm.

uveshe

1111

KZN

K

herb

N/A

YES

PC/MED

4

NO

 

Eleutherine bulbosa (Miller) Urban

ababomvu, abanqonqosi

861

exSA

-

herb

SEMI-SUCC.

NO

PC/MED

3

YES

Orchidaceae

Ansellia africana Lindl.

imfe-nkawu

869

KZN

V

herb

SEMI-SUCC.

NO

PC

3

YES

DICOTS

             

NO

     

Apocynaceae

Catharanthus roseus (L.) G.Don

ikwinini

883

exSA

-

shrub

N/A

NO

PC/MED

5

NO

Canellaceae

Warburgia salutaris (Bertol.f.) Chiov.

isibhaha, isibaha, ama zwecehlabayo

1114

KZN

V

tree

N/A

NO

MED

4

YES

Crassulaceae

Bryophyllum pinnatum (Lam.) Kurz

umvuthuza

888

exSA

-

herb

LEAF

YES

PC/MED

4

NO

Euphorbiaceae

Jatropha curcas L.

inhlakuva

1053

exSA

-

shrub

STEM

NO

MED/HORT

3

YES

Lamiaceae

Tetradenia riparia (Hochst.) Codd

iboza, ibozane

1093

KZN

nt

shrub

SEMI-LEAF

NO

PC/MED

4

YES

Meliaceae

Melia azedarach (L.)

umsilinga

1110

exSA

-

tree

N/A

NO

MED

3

NO

Mesembryanthemaceae

Aptenia cordifolia (L.f.) Schwant.

ibohololo, uncolozi (-omncane), ungcolosi, mbohlololo

1092

KZN

nt

herb

LEAF

NO

MED

3

YES

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Mattson, M. (1994). Silverglen, sangomas and scientists. Indigenous Plant Use Newsletter 2(3): 3-4.

Nichols, G.R. (1990). Making the medicine plants renewable: a conservation strategy in the Durban City Parks Department. Mitteilungen aus dem Institut fur Allgemeine Botanik Hamburg 23a: S.25-30.

Palmer, E. (1985). The South African Herbal. Tafelberg, Cape Town.

Prins, F.E. (1996a). Prohibitions and pollution at a medicinal plant nursery: customary implications associated with ethnobotanical reserves in conservative areas of KwaZulu-Natal. Natal Museum Journal of Humanities 8: 81-93.

Prins, F. (1996b). Cultivating cultural sensitivity. Indigenous Plant Use Newsletter 4(1): 5.

Roff, J. (1998). The muthi garden project. Roots 16: 27-28.

Roff, J., Nonjinge, S. and Crouch, N. (1997). Conjuring up a Zulu muthi garden. Veld & Flora 83(3): 72-73.

Schapera, I. (1953). The Tswana. Ethnographic Survey of Africa, Southern Africa, Part 3. International African Institute, London.

Sheldon, J.W., Balick, M.J. and Laird, S.A. (1997). Medicinal plants: can utilisation and conservation coexist? Advances in Economic Botany 12. The New York Botanical Garden, New York.

Symmonds, R. (1998). Conservation through propagation. Roots 16: 31-33.

Smith, A. (1895). A contribution to South African materia medica, chiefly from plants in use among the natives. Juta, Cape Town.

Smith, G.F., Crouch, N.R. and Condy, G. (1997a). Haworthia limifolia var. limifolia. Asphodelaceae: Alooideae. Flowering Plants of Africa 55: 24-29.

Smith, G.F., Crouch, N.R. and Condy, G. (1997b). Gasteria croucheri. Asphodelaceae: Alooideae. Flowering Plants of Africa 55: 20-23.

Smith, G.F., Van Jaarsveld, J., Arnold, T.H., Steffens, F.E., Dixon, R.D. and Retief, J.A. (eds.). (1997c). List of southern African succulent plants. Umdaus Press, Pretoria.

Williams, V.L. (1996). The Witwatersrand muti trade. Veld & Flora 82: 12-14.

Figures

Figure 1. The succulent character of cultivated plants.


Figure 2: The six monocotyledonous plant families best represented in healer gardens

 

 

Figure 3: The six dicotyledonous plant families best represented in healer gardens

Figure 4: Broad usage categories of plants in cultivation.

Figure 5: The geographic origin of plants cultivated by Zulu traditional healers.

Figure 6: The conservation status of plants in cultivation in home gardens.

Figure 7: The life forms of plants cultivated by traditional healers.

Photographs:

The Natal NBG display, a traditional Zulu beehive hut surrounded by a simulated healer home garden

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The late Tr. Dr John Mthethwa sustainably harvesting bark from the trunk of a Scolopia zeyheri.





Zulu muthi materials traded at the Ezimbuzini market near Durban.



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