During the first half of 2012, a semi-structured questionnaire was employed to conduct a survey on medicinal plants used by Bapedi traditional healers in their human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) management protocol. A total of 26 plant species were used by these healers to treat HIV/AIDS. Majority (96.1%) of the species used were indigenous and only 3.9% were exotic. Most (88.4%) of the indigenous species appear on South African National Red Data List of Plants. Burkea africana, Citrullus lanatus, Cinnamomum verum, Euclea crispa, Elephantorrhiza elephantina, Euphorbia maleolens, Geigeria aspera, Plectranthus ciliatus, Sarcostemmaviminale, Zanthoxylum capense and Zanthoxylum humile are recorded for the first time as a treatment for HIV/AIDS. The most used species by Bapedi healers to treat this pandemic was E. maleolens (11.7%) and E. elephantina (8.8%). Roots (66.6%) from 26 species were mostly used to prepare remedies. Twelve (60%) multi extract and eight (40%) single extract preparations were recorded. Extracts were mostly (99%) prescribed orally. The disappearance or improvement of symptoms was considered as indicators of a successful treatment. The present study concludes that Bapedi traditional healers’ knowledge can lead to useful medicinal plants to manage and treat HIV/AIDS infections.
Key words: Bapedi traditional healers, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), Limpopo Province, medicinal plants.
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