Journal of
Medicinal Plants Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Med. Plants Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0875
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMPR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 3834

An ethnobotanical study of plants used for the treatment of ear, nose and throat (ENT) infections in Nkonkobe Municipality, South Africa

Lwandiso Dyubeni and Lisa V. Buwa*
Department of Botany, School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Fort Hare Private Bag X1314, Alice, Eastern Cape, 5700, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 14 April 2011
  •  Published: 16 April 2012


The use of medicinal plants in the treatment of infectious diseases has been used by the majority of the world’s population for thousands of years. South Africa has a rich heritage of indigenous knowledge on the use of traditional medicinal plants. The Eastern Cape Province of South Africa is particularly known for its richness in plant species. The indigenous people of this province have a long history of traditional plant usage for the treatment of various diseases and ailments. An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used for the treatment of ear, nose and throat (ENT) infections in Nkonkobe Municipality of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, was conducted through the use of structured questionnaires. Respondents included traditional healers and herbalists. The information collected revealed 27 plant species belonging to 21 families were used to treat ENT infections. Members of the Asteraceae family were reported to be the most prominent followed by Lamiaceae, Alliaceae and Rutaceae, respectively. The leaves were reported to be the most used part of the plants, constituting about 59% of the herbal preparations, followed by the bark and roots (11% each), bulb, rhizome and stem (5% each), and twigs and fruits (2% each). Methods of herbal administration involved drinking the extracts, snuffing the powdered leaves and squeezing the warm leaf sap directly into the ear, for healing the throat, nose and ear infections respectively. Plants reported in this survey are important candidates for phytochemical and pharmacological tests.


Key words: Ear, nose and throat infections, herbal medicine, traditional healers.