Medicinal plants of South Africa

Medicinal plants are an important aspect of the daily lives of many people and an important part of the South African cultural heritage.
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Title: Medicinal Plants of South Africa
Author: Ben-Erik van Wyk; Bosch van Oudtshoorn; Nigel Gericke
Publisher: Briza Publications
2nd Edition. Pretoria, South Africa 2017
ISBN 9781875093373 / ISBN 978-1-875093-37-3
Hardcover, 17 x 24 cm, 336 pages, distribution maps, 500 colour photographs

Description: Medicinal plants of South Africa

Medicinal plants are an important aspect of the daily lives of many people and an important part of the South African cultural heritage. This book is a photographic guide to the most commonly used and best known South African plant medicines, including their botany, main traditional uses and active ingredients. Southern Africa has well over 30000 species of higher plants. The Cape Floral Kingdom alone has nearly 9000 species and is the most diverse temperate flora on earth, rivalling the tropical rainforests in terms of species richness. With South Africa's remarkable biodiversity and cultural diversity, it is not surprising to find that approximately 3000 species of plants are used as medicines, and of these, some 350 species are the most commonly used and traded medicinal plants. Since it is not practically possible to illustrate and describe all the indigenous medicinal plants in a photographic guide, a selection of 150 plants has been included on the basis that they are presently the best known and most fully understood herbal medicines.

However, several other, mostly related plants, are also mentioned and occasionally illustrated. The selection in Medicinal Plants of South Africa includes representatives of plants used by all cultural groups, including a small number of introduced species that have been incorporated into the traditional materia medico. The descriptions given in the introductory pages are necessarily brief generalisations, and the magical, ritual, spiritual and symbolic aspects of the use of indigenous medicinal plants have not been included. It is our intention to afford the reader with an appreciation of the contribution indigenous plants make to Primary Health Care in its broadest sense, throughout South Africa. Wherever possible, the scientific rationale behind the remedies is discussed or speculations are made regarding their biological activities. Wherever possible, reference to published and unpublished information is cited. Where no references are cited, the information is drawn from the authors' own observations and experiences.

Content: Medicinal Plants of South Africa

What are toxins and toxic plants?
What are mind-altering substances and psychoactive plants?
Why do poisons and mind-altering substances exist in nature?
Occurrence of toxins and mind-altering substances in nature
Poisonous and mind-altering plants in human history: Murder, magic and medicine
Murder and Magic
Mind-altering plants of the Old World
Mind-altering plants of the New World
Early medicine
Importance of poisonous plants in modern life
Plants that affect the skin
Statistics of plant poisoning
Animal poisoning
First aid treatment
First aid - removal of toxins
Clinical therapy
Methods of testing for toxicity in humans
Plants in alphabetical order
Structure of monographs
Mow do poisons and mind-altering substances function?
Molecular modes of action
How do neurotoxins and mind-altering substances work?
Main classes of toxins and psychoactive compounds
Secondary metabolites with nitrogen
Secondary metabolites without nitrogen
Small reactive metabolites
Quick Guide to poisonous plants, mind-altering plants and fungi
Further reading