Books for Nature Lovers
Medicinal Plants of South Africa 2nd Edition
To order this book visit our Online Bookshop or contact us directly at
Review By: Wildlife Ranching - Spring 2013

There are many books on the indigenous plants of southern Africa available, many of them citing the importance of medicinal plants as an important part of South African cultural heritage. Most have extensive lists stating that a particular plant is used to treat anything and everything form stomach ailments to hallucinations. South Africa has well over 30 000 species of higher plants of which more than 3000 are used as medicines in some form or other. Of these, some 350 species of South African plants are traded and used as culturally traditional medicinal plants. 

While plants have played an important role in medicine, modern methods of analysis and medical study have taken the mystery out of ethnobotany and the cultural medicinal claims. There are compounds in plants that have definite medical properties but the purity of the chemical, the doses required and the toxic properties must be understood before any recommendations can be made. This is why I appreciate the important warning at the beginning of the book, advising against self-diagnosis and self-treatment using these plants or extracts thereof as crudes medicine. 

What makes this book different is that it approaches the subject and the 150 plants described on a scientific basis, listing the cultural use but describing the chemicals extracted, their real medicinal properties as well as listing the scientific reference. 

A large number of peer-reviewed scientific papers on South African medicinal plants have been published since 1997, some of which have led to a recent focus on commercial development of extracts from these plants. Some examples are Hoodia gordonii for its appetite suppressant properties, Mesembryanthemum tortuosum for it anxiolytic properties and Lippia javanica for its mosquito repellent effects. Certain volatile oils extracted from Lippia, or lemon bush, which is cultivated in Limpopo in an upliftment project, are used in candles to repel mosquitoes. They are commercially available under the Fever Tree brand. 

121 Soutpansberg Road
South Africa
× Privacy Policy As required by law this privacy policy will contain information on how Briza Publications collect and use personal information. This privacy policy will also contain information regarding the rights of Users to this website.

A User refers to a natural and juristic person to whom personal information relates.

This website may collect certain information about a User's behaviour, what pages was visited, how the User got to this website and the time the User spend on this website.

This website may also collect personal information obtained directly through Briza Publications online forms when completed by Users. This information includes, but is not limited to, the person's name, contact details, email and enquiries posted for assistance.

Briza Publications may process personal information to be used for the following, but not limited to:
  • Communication
  • Providing a specific service
  • Providing a value added experience or service to visitors
  • Complying with regulatory and legal obligations
  • Marketing and promotional services
  • Internal operational purpose

Briza Publications will store personal information only for as long as reasonably necessary and in accordance with the law.

We have implemented appropriate technical measures (such as using login features) to help us keep all information secure, accurate, current, and complete to ensure protection of personal information.

Users to this website may also exercise their right to object to processing of their personal information. Objection to processing personal information can be sent to the contact details provided here below.

Briza Publications reserves the right to amend our privacy policy or add to it at any time to address new issues and will upload the updated version to our website.

By using this website, the User signify the User's acceptance of our privacy policy. If the User do not agree to this policy, please do not use this website. The User's continued use of the website following the posting of changes to our privacy policy will mean that the User accept those changes.