Wild medicinal leafy vegetables are consumed by many rural villagers of the Eastern Cape, South Africa. These vegetables are easily accessible at no cost. This paper presents findings of a survey of plants used as vegetables and for medicinal purposes in the Eastern Cape Province. Regular consumers of these plants interviewed revealed that four out of the possible twenty species were reported to be used for medical purposes besides consumption as food. Plants that were consistently mentioned in all the places visited were collected to evaluate their antibacterial properties. The following four species were collected; Bidens bipinnata, Physalis peruviana, Rumex obtusifolius, and Taraxacum officinale. These were reported to cure the most common diseases in the study area. Antibacterial screening was done on all the four collected species. All the aqueous extracts from these plants showed some antibacterial properties at concentrations ranging from 1.0 to 7.0 mg/ml. Acetone and aqueous extracts of B. bipinnata and P. peruviana inhibited both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. This may justify the use of these plants for the treatment of minor ailments as a primary health care delivery system.
Key words: Wild vegetables, antibacterial, Bidens bipinnata, Physalis peruvian, Rumex obtusifolius, Taraxacum officinale.
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