Journal of
Medicinal Plants Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Med. Plants Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0875
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMPR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 3780

Full Length Research Paper

Ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used by Bapedi traditional healers to treat erectile dysfunction in the Limpopo Province, South Africa

Sebua S Semenya* and Martin J Potgieter    
Department of Biodiversity, University of Limpopo, Private Bag X1106, Sovenga, 0727, South Africa    
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 17 April 2012
  •  Published: 17 February 2013


To conduct an inventory of medicinal plants commonly used by Bapedi to treat erectile dysfunction

(ED), 34 healers from 17 municipalities were interviewed during the first half of 2011. These

municipalities covered Capricorn, Sekhukhune and Waterberg districts located in the Limpopo Province

of South Africa. A total of 21 plant species belonging to 15 families, mostly from the Apocynaceae,

Asteraceae, Celastraceae, Fabaceae, Hyacinthaceae and Hypoxidaceae (9.5% each), were used to treat

ED. The most frequently used species were Zanthoxylum humile (38.2%), Catha edulis (32.3%), Ozoroa

sphaerocarpa (26.4%), and Hypoxis hemerocallidea (20.5%). Roots (58.3%), bulbs and tubers (12.5%

each) were mostly preferred for medicine. These parts were prepared by boiling (61.9%) and pounding

(38%). They were mostly taken orally (95.2%) for a period of one week or until symptoms of erectile

dysfunction disappears. Although the majority of the species noted in this study has been validated

either through their extensive use by various cultures, or by scientific studies, Ammocharis coranica,

Artemisia annua, Ceropegia purpurascens subsp. purpurascens, Gomphocarpus fruticosus subsp.

fruticosus, Jatropha curcas, Ozoroa sphaerocarpa and Zanthoxylum humile are noted for the first time

in the treatment of ED.

Key words: Bapedi traditional healers, erectile dysfunction, ethnobotanical survey, medicinal plants.