The trade in medicinal plants in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

Dold, A.P. and Cocks, M.L. (2002) The trade in medicinal plants in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. South African Journal of Science, 98 (11&12). ISSN 0038-2353




A study of the trade in medicinal plants in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa undertook to document the species traded, to determine the quantities harvested annually, and to assess the economic value of the trade. All the participants involved at the different levels of the trade were included in the survey, that is, informal street hawkers, owners of amayeza esiXhosa stores, traditional healers, and consumers of traditional medicines. In total, 282 questionnaires were administered in six urban centres. It was found that poorly educated black middle-aged women of low economic standing dominate the trade. A minimum of 166 medicinal plant species were traded at the study sites alone, providing 525 tonnes of plant material valued at approximately R27 million annually. Plants were harvested from a diverse range of vegetation types including Valley Thicket, Afromontane Forest, Coastal Forest and Moist Upland Grassland, the most frequently sold species differing significantly from those documented in similar studies in other regions. The Forest Biome was the vegetation type found to be most threatened by over-harvesting. Of the species documented, 93% were being harvested unsustainably and 34 species have been prioritised for conservation management.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Research article
Uncontrolled Keywords:harvesting; medicinal plant; trade flow; South Africa; Eastern Cape Province; Botanical drug industry; forest biome
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Botany
Research Institutes and Units > Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER)
ID Code:340
Deposited By: Mrs Eileen Shepherd
Deposited On:05 Oct 2006
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:17
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