Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a neurovascular event modulated by various factors impacting on the physiological functioning of the penile tissue. Interest in therapeutic substances of plant origin, used to treat ED, has progressively increased in the last decades. This ethnobotanical study on Bapedi aphrodisiacs was undertaken during 2010/2011 to document the floral diversity, species utilization, extract preparation and administration. The emphasis was on the customs of traditional healers residing in 17 municipalities, in three districts in the Limpopo province of South Africa. Data was obtained, from 34 healers, using a semi-structured questionnaire. According to these traditional healers, ED entails the inability to sustain an erection during coitus as well as a decreased libido. Findings indicated the use of 12 species, 10 of them with new documentations. Among these species, Zanthoxylum humile was the most frequently used species, and only Osyris lanceolata and Securidaca longepedunculata were previously recorded in the treatment of ED. There was a definite selection for underground parts. Preparation was uncomplicated; with cooking and pounding of the preferred methods. Administration was mostly attained via oral administration; however, the vehicle for administration varied. This manuscript validated the application of two species as aphrodisiacs. It is concluded that the major contribution is the 10 species that have not been documented earlier.
Key words: Bapedi, aphrodisiacs, erectile dysfunction, Limpopo province, Zanthoxylum humile.
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