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How to make your own Herbal Smoke Blend

herbal smoke blend

Herbal smoke blend

A Herbal smoke blend is an excellent solution for many who are struggling daily to consume less tobacco.

It’s also an option for those who are trying to treat an ailment or disease.

Throughout history, dried herbs have been used to make incense, smudges, and herbal smoking blends.

Quite a few plants may be safely, and pleasurable, lit up in a pipe or rolling papers. Those listed below are legal, unregulated, and totally safe to use. They are also non-hallucinogenic and non-addictive.

While they won’t get you high, when blended according to the instructions below, these herbs produce a smooth, tasty smoke and some even give a gentle, relaxing buzz.

There’s something fascinating about the alchemy of herbs and smoke. Part of it is visual. We can see the plants undergoing a violent physical change as they are transformed into smoke and ash. It’s also something that we can experience as we breathe in. The smoke has a taste and a texture, and it resonates with us at an emotional and physical level. We resonate with it as well.

Some people may find it helpful to use herbal smoking blends when they are lessening their dependence on tobacco. The blend of herbs can be customized by combining ingredients such as lobelia and calming herbs, incorporating expectorants and mullein to support the lungs, and eventually transitioning to using mullein only.

The Anatomy of creating a Herbal Smoke Blend

It can be helpful to think of herbal smoking blends as three parts:

  • the carrier or base herbs
  • herbs with a specific supportive role
  • herbs used for flavouring.

1. Choose Your Base

Your base should be something that is smooth, has body, and burns well. There are a few different bases I would suggest, depending on your desired flavour and effect.

Raspberry Leaf: A nice fluffy base for every day smoking blends. I suggest blending Raspberry and Mullein together for a nice base. You can play with the ratios and find your favourite!  Re-mist lightly with water to freshen up the leaves and make a nicer, smoother smoke.

Mullein: Mullein has a lot of body and burns well, but has no relaxing effect. This is good if you’re just looking for an every day kind of smoke. Mullein also cleanses the lungs and brings up congestion, so if you are quitting smoking or have quit already, Mullein is a good lung restorative. *TIP: Make sure the mullein isn’t too dry, because this causes the smoke to be more harsh. You can always re-mist lightly with a little bit of water. Also, rub the mullein between your fingertips to fluff it up.

2. Choose Your Modifiers

Your modifiers will be the second largest quantity in your  mix after the base. They will augment and enhance the effect of your base. So, depending on your desired effect, choose 2-4 modifiers to add to your base. Be creative!

Some popular examples of Modifiers are: Passionflower, Wild Dagga, Uva Ursi, Mugwort, Skullcap, Hops, Catnip, Chamomile, Thyme, Lobelia, Marigold, Coltsfoot, Marshmallow leaves, Marjoram, and Rose petals.

3. Add a Flavour Twist

Some examples are:

Peppermint, Spearmint, Lavender, Sage, Thyme, Clove (crushed or ground), Liquorice Root (crushed or ground) and Stevia.

This herb will should be used in a smaller amount as they have a stronger taste, and they will finish off your blend with a unique flavour! Be careful with herbs like Clove which have a strong taste and medicinal effect. Peppermint too is quite strong so use sparingly or opt for Spearmint instead. If you’re not fond of mint flavours then consider Liquorice Root or Stevia.

4. Put it together!

Now you’re ready for the final step. Take all your dried herbs (make sure to pick out any stems) and put them together in this ratio:

3 parts Base Herb

2 parts Modifiers
1/2 to 1 part Flavour twist

For example, you’ve decided to make a relaxing herbal smoke mix.

Your base is a mix of Mullein flowers and Raspberry leaves.

Place 1.5 handfuls of both Mullein flowers and Raspberry leaves in a bowl.

You’ve chosen modifiers like Mugwort and Wild Dagga. Mix these together first in equal parts, then place 2 handfuls of your modifiers in the bowl.

Your flavour twist is Spearmint. You just want a subtle flavour Take a 1 very small handful of Spearmint and place it in the bowl.

Mix it all together, and you’re done! Now for the fun part. Try it out!

Use a nice pinch of your natural herbal smoking mix in a rolling paper, pipe, or vaporizer.

Below are some herbs and effects.

Hyssop on top of lung and respiratory health, hyssop is used to relieve anxiety and stimulate focus.

Thyme another cleansing herb for your lungs, thyme can help heal respiratory infections such as the flu, whooping cough, or bronchitis.

Mullein: A tasteless light smoke, Mullein is revered as a highly medicinal herb that cleanses lung infections and inflammation. It’s an expectorant, meaning that it helps in breaking up respiratory congestion and promotes productive coughing.

Calendula has a smooth floral citrus taste that increases your positive mood.

Wormwood releases mild effects that help reduce pain, headaches, and even rheumatism.

Red Raspberry is a sedative herb that produces a calming effect on the nervous system and even neutralizes nicotine poisoning.

Pregnant women should avoid using some herbs outlined above. Always do your research.

herbal smoke blend


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How to make a fire cider

fire cider

How to make a fire cider.

Fire Cider is an Apple Cider Vinegar tonic infused with herbs and other superfoods.

A longtime favorite in the herbal community, this DIY tonic is finally gaining mainstream popularity in South Africa.

Fire Cider Tonic is crafted from 5 main herbs – horseradish, ginger, garlic, onion and hot chillies. Besides the main five, other healing herbs are added to boost the potency and improve the taste of the fire tonic. These include rosemary which is a restorative herb with antimicrobial properties and turmeric which is an excellent anti-inflammatory. And finally, a bit of sweetness from honey rounds up the flavours perfectly and boosts the antibacterial quality of this powerful home remedy.

Strictly speaking, fire cider is an oxymel – or an herbal remedy that includes both vinegar and honey. Oxymels have been used for thousands of years, and they originate in ancient Persia and Greece.

Rosemary Gladstar, the respected herbalist, teacher, and author coined the catchy name in the late 1970s.

Apple cider vinegar acts as an excellent digestive aid and which helps to extract the medicinal compounds of the herbs. And honey helps soothe the body, makes the tonic more palatable and helps buffer the intensity of the herbs.

Suggested Uses:

    1. Cold Preventative:
      Sip by the spoonful when you feel a cold coming. You can also dilute it in water.
    2. Fire Cider Tonic:
      This makes a great mocktail. Add about 1 Tbsp. fire cider and a squeeze of fresh orange juice to a glass of seltzer. Garnish with rosemary sprig.
    3. Salad Dressing:
      Use in place of apple cider vinegar in your favorite vinaigrette. You likely won’t need to add any additional sweetener.
    4. Fire Cider Tea:
      Add about 1 Tbsp. fire cider to a mug of hot water, along with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a little honey to sweeten. Finish with a bit of freshly ground black pepper.
    5. Fresh Herb Sauces:
      Use fire cider in place of the red wine vinegar in sauces like chimichurri.
    6. Marinade for fish, chicken, or tofu:
      Think of fire cider as the acid in bright, assertive marinades similar to those for jerky style chicken.

Below is a basic simple recipe you can make at home. If you want to make more simply double the amount of ingredients needed.

  • 1L Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) eg. Nature’s Choice Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother or Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 cup grated fresh horseradish root
  • 1/2 cup grated turmeric
  • 1 cup or more fresh chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup or more chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup or more grated ginger
  • Chopped fresh chillis or jalapeños. (Add enough to make it spicy, but not so much that you cannot drink it!
  • 4 tbsp raw honey
  • Optional ingredients – Cloves, Anise pods, Cardamom, Rosemary, Thyme, Echinacea, Lemon, Orange, Cinnamon etc.
  1. Place chopped herbs in a 1L glass jar and cover with enough Apple Cider Vinegar to cover the herbs by at least 10cm. Cover tightly with a tight fitting lid.
  2. Place jar in a warm place and let stand for three to four weeks. Best to shake every day to help in the maceration process.
  3. After three to four weeks, strain out the herbs, and reserve the liquid.
  4. Add honey to taste. Warm the honey first so it mixes in well.
  5. Rebottle and enjoy! Fire Cider will keep for several months unrefrigerated if stored in a cool pantry. But it’s better to store in the refrigerator.
  • Fresh Ginger is a warming herb with antiviral properties.
  • Onion is a folk remedy for colds and flu, and is particularly rich in quercetin which is strongly anti-inflammatory.
  • Garlic is traditionally used to ease colds and upper respiratory tract infections, and has antiviral and antimicrobial properties.
  • Turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
  • Horseradish is an excellent remedy for clearing the sinuses.
  • Chilli Peppers have high amounts of vitamins and minerals. Also Anti-inflammatory properties.

The leftover now-pickled garlic, ginger, onion, and other herb bits need not go to waste! Some people suggest using them on top of salads or in stir fry. You could also dehydrate the ingredients. The grind it all into a powder and put the powder into capsules, and take them as immunity supplements.

Many South Africans are tweaking the original recipe and adding their own favorite herbs, fruit and even flowers. And, more than a remedy, fire cider is also an excellent food – a delicious, spicy sweet-tart tonic that you can use in place of other vinegars in vinaigrettes and other culinary preparations. Accordingly, it’s a great way to consistently consume medicinal herbs regularly. It will also make a neat Christmas gift for friends and family.




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Herbal Cream South Africa

herbal cream south africa

Herbal Cream South Africa

How to make your own herbal cream South Africa for all your skin ailments.

Some of the most effective ingredients in your favorite bottles and tubes of natural skin care products started in the dirt. So why not try making your own natural herbal cream for a change?

Many herbs hold therapeutic advantages for your skin. In addition to successfully tackling skin issues, they can greatly improve the cellular firmness and health of the skin.

A friend of mine suffers from blotchy and itchy skin and asked if I could whip up a special herbal cream for her.

This recipe has a multitude of herbs which each have their own medicinal benefits. Feel free to leave some out or add your own.

So below this is all the herbs packed into my nutribullet which I used to powder and mix all my herbs.

As I mentioned feel free to remove some of the ingredients or mix with some other herbs. Try adding Nettle root or ashwagandha root to the mix. Although Nettle is mostly taken in tea form for skin health, more companies are adding this to their products. Along with its soothing and antioxidant properties, nettle extract can also help to stimulate the skin. Ashwagandha root has both antibacterial and antimicrobial properties which protect the skin from infections or acne. It also boosts the collagen in the skin which prevents it from ageing.

I didn’t weigh the ingredients and simply added as I saw fit.  I also decided to keep this rustic and NOT strain the mixture afterwards as I wanted the herbs to stay in. You can however strain the mixture through cheesecloth or muselin if you prefer to not have plant material in your cream. Another reason I chose to do this is because I added freshly dried High CBD cannabis flower and I didn’t want to lose any of the CBDa. You can also use any other cannabis which has THC in it as this cannabinoid is also beneficial for skin and it won’t pass the skin barrier and make a person high.

From the bottom. Ingredients.


  • Chamomile Flowers. Chamomile contains alpha-bisabolol, an influential compound which can diminish the development of wrinkles. It also heals skin irritations like burns and acne faster. Chamomile can be taken in the form of tea or you can use it as a face wash. However, it may not suit everybody’s skin and body. So use it with caution. In this mix I used about 5g.
  • Wild Dagga. Wild dagga is used to treat skin rashes, itches and all skin problems like eczema. Used about 5g.
  • Lavender. Lavender oil can benefit the skin in numerous ways. It has the ability to lessen acne, help lighten skin, and reduce wrinkles. 5g
  • Cannabis. I used a High CBD strain and mixed in equal parts of decarboxylated flower (CBD activated) and non-decarbed dried flower (CBDa). Benefits are anti-inflammatory agents that can help treat conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, as well as reduce acne. I used about 5g of each.
  • Rooibos tea. Due to alpha hydroxyl acid and zinc content, rooibos is able to revitalize and invigorate the skin. It can be applied directly on to the skin to help acne, pimples, sunburn, eczema, etc. Used about 5g.
  • Tumeric. Studies have shown that curcumin, a chemical compound found in turmeric, can decrease UV damage and clear up acne when applied to skin. Used about 5g.
  • Olive leaf powder. Using olive leaf extract for skin treatment can reduce inflammation, repair damage, nourish and hydrate skin while also slowing the effects of aging. 5g.
  • Aloe Vera. Aloe vera contains antioxidants, enzymes, Vitamins A and C, and it is highly anti-inflammatory. It can help treat burns, acne and dry skin. 5g.
  • Marigold calendula flowers.  It’s often used as a complementary or alternative treatment. Calendula oil has antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties that might make it useful in healing wounds, soothing eczema. 5g.
  • 500ml coconut oil. Coconut oil helps bolster your skin’s protective barrier layer, trapping moisture inside and keeping skin supple and hydrated. Reduces inflammation. Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties, making it beneficial for irritated, chafed skin. Increases collagen production.
  • 25g of beeswax. I added this just to give the cream a bit more of a base and keep it solid as coconut oil will begin to liquify at warmer temperatures.
  • 10 drops of tea tree essential oil. Tea tree oil is a popular choice for treating acne because of its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It’s thought to calm redness, swelling, and inflammation. It may even help to prevent and reduce acne scars, leaving you with smooth, clear skin.

  1. Blend herbs.
  2. Melt coconut oil in pot.
  3. Add herbs.
  4. Let it cook for 30mins, stirring occassionaly.
  5. Add beeswax at the end until melted in. Optional.
  6. Add a few drops of tea tree oil or another essential oil. Optional.
  7. Strain through cheesecloth. Optional.
  8. Pour into suitable container.
  9. Place in freezer to solidify quicker without herbs sinking to bottom of container.
  10. If you made a large batch store the individual products in the freezer or fridge to preserve the ingredients for longer.

wild dagga cream south africa

Commercial beauty products may end up causing more damage than benefit to the skin. To attain optimal skin wellness natural options like herbs may be the best choice. They can heal your skin problems and give you a natural glow. So try out these herbs. Experiment. Have fun.

NB. Do a patch test first. Before you start to use a new product, place a small amount on the inside of your elbow and wait 48 to 72 hours. If you notice no redness, swelling, itching, or burning on that spot, it’s OK for you to use.




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What is herbology?

what is herbology


What is Medicinal Herbology? Medicinal herbology is the use of natural herbs, plants, and botanical knowledge to medically treat individuals.

For centuries, cultures around the world have relied on traditional herbal medicine to meet their healthcare needs. Despite medical advancements, the global demand for herbal remedies is on the rise.

In terms of specific benefits, it really depends on which plants and botanicals you are using. Many people around the world rely on herbal medicines to treat health conditions. Countless varieties exist, but some of the most popular include gingko, ginseng, ginger, turmeric, and chamomile.

Though their applications tend to be very broad, many of their supposed benefits lack strong scientific evidence.

Keep in mind that, like conventional drugs, herbal remedies may interact negatively with other medicines. Thus, it’s recommended that you consult your healthcare provider before adding a new herb or supplement to your routine.

The traditional herbs and preparations used in eastern and African traditional medicine are theoretically comparative to the practice of prescription medications within western medicine. However, in one part of the world it’s common to apply and ingest natural plants and herbs to treat symptoms and adapt to illness. On the other side of the world, the focus is on finding a curative practice to completely mitigate symptoms or disease with the use of chemically designed pills and highly processed, and sometimes toxic, medications.

The consumption of herbal medicines is increasing steadily throughout the world as an alternative treatment for alleviating a number of health problems including heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even certain types of cancer.

If you’re considering taking herbal supplements eg. herbal tinctures, herbal teas or herbal capsules, it’s best to consult a health professional to ensure proper dosage, understand potential side effects, and watch out for reactions with other medications.

Because herbal medicines are derived from natural sources, people often assume that they’re inherently safe — but this isn’t necessarily the case. Like conventional drugs, herbal supplements may cause serious side effects or interfere with other medications you’re taking.

For instance, raw elderberries can be toxic, St. John’s wort can interact dangerously with antidepressants, and valerian root can compound the effects of sedatives like valium.

Additionally, many herbal medicines have not been studied rigorously enough to verify their safety for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Be safe and tell your prescribing physician and other health care providers about all the herbal and vitamin supplements you are taking or plan on incorporating into your diet or treatment.


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Herbal Tinctures South Africa

herbal tinctures

Herbal Tinctures South Africa

Herbal Tinctures are often overlooked as a method of administering herbal medicines – most people are not as familiar with their use as they are with teas and capsules.

Mankind has had a long and loving relationship with herbs. In the 5th century B.C., Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician, listed approximately 400 herbs in common use. Around 65 A.D., Pedanius Dioscorides, a Greek physician serving with the Roman army, wrote “De Materia Medica,” in which he described the medicinal uses of many herbs. Even today, it is considered one of the most influential herbal books.

Don’t let the words “herbal tinctures” intimidate you. Herbal Tinctures are just concentrated herbal extracts made with alcohol, which can be taken straight or diluted in tea or water. In short, it’s another way of extracting the active components from an herb, except you’re using alcohol instead of water, vinegar, or glycerin as the solvent.

Using alcohol as the base solvent will give the tincture a longer shelf life however you can use vegetable glycerin as a substitute. You can also use vinegar if you don’t want to use alcohol. The method is the same and apple cider vinegar or a good quality wine vinegar (either red or white) can be used. This is particularly nice with berries such as elderberry or hawthorn berry.

For children it is best to use a mixture of 50% vegetable glycerin and 50% filtered or spring water or straight up organic apple cider vinegar (ACV). If you use this method you must keep it in the fridge at all times both during and after making, because the preserving qualities of glycerin are lower than alcohol or vinegar. Technically speaking a tincture is made using alcohol, and if you substitute vegetable glycerin or Apple cider vinegar it is known as a herbal extract.

The soaking process extracts the active components of the herb or herbs. Alcohol is often the liquid of choice, as it can extract components, such as resins and alkaloids, that are not water-soluble.

People usually take tinctures orally by using a dropper to place the liquid under their tongue.

Depending on the types of herbs involved, tinctures can include various parts of the plant. Some of the most common parts in herbal tinctures include:

  • dried leaves
  • bark
  • berries
  • roots
  • fresh leaves

If you’ve ever bought tinctures from the store, I’d encourage you to try making your own, as they are very inexpensive and easy to put make.

How to Make an Herbal Tincture

First you’ll need your desired herbs. You can buy your dried herbs South Africa here at our online store here.

What you’ll need:

  • High-proof alcohol (at least 40%). Vodka, Gin or brandy works well.
  • Alternative to alcohol if necessary: high quality organic apple cider vinegar.
  • A herb of your choice.
  • A glass jar (At least 500ml) with a tight-fitting lid
  • Small, dark glass bottles for storing the tinctures. Cobalt or amber glass are great, and should have tight-fitting screw-on or snap-down lids. You can buy 50ml glass dropper bottles here.
  • A fine strainer.
  • Fine cheesecloth or muslin.
  • A bowl or glass measuring cup with a spout.
  • A small funnel.

• Use finely cut herbal material.
• Only fill jar 1/2 to 3/4 with herb.
• Pour alcohol to the very top of the jar. Cover plants completely!

• Use finely cut herbal material.
• Only fill jar 1/4 to 1/3 with dried roots, barks, or berries.
• Pour alcohol to the very top of the jar. Cover plants completely!
• Roots and berries will double in size when reconstituted!

Let’s start!

  1. Add your herbs to your jar.
  2. Fill your jar with the solvent of choice.
  3. Shake well, and allow to sit for about an hour. Add more alcohol (or other solvent) as needed. This will depend on how much alcohol the plant material absorbs. You want your solvent to completely cover the plant matter, and be within 10cm of the top of the jar for movement.
  4. Find a great spot to keep your processing tincture- a dark, cool closet in your kitchen will do. Shake your tincture a few times a week, especially if you are using powdered herbs.
  5. Allow your herbs to macerate (steep) in the liquid for six to eight weeks. I have left mine for a year before, and it’s still been just fine. However, your tincture should be ready within the six to eight week range.
  6. Strain out the herbal matter. Use a strainer and a layer or two of cheesecloth muslin. This ensures a nice clear tincture.
  7. Bottle up your tincture!
  8. This last step is perhaps the most important of all: labeling your creation! Date, amount of Herb/s used.

If at any time during the soaking process the alcohol has evaporated a bit and the herb is not totally submerged, be sure to top off the jar with more alcohol. Herbs exposed to air can introduce mold and bacteria into your tincture.

It’s worth mentioning that berries and bark will soak up more alcohol than dried leaves so keep this in mind when packing your herb of choice into your glass jar.

Below is a short video on how to make a peppermint herb tincture which can be used for upset stomach, indigestion, morning sickness, or motion sickness.

Here are a few other herbal tinctures to experiment with.

Breathe Well Tincture
1 part ginger root
1 part marshmallow root
1 part licorice root

Cleansing Tincture
2 parts nettle leaf
1 part dandelion leaf
1 part lemon balm leaf

Stress Tincture
2 parts dandelion root
2 parts ginseng
1 part astragalus root
½ part cardamom seeds

PMS Tincture
3 parts red raspberry leaf
1 part stinging nettle leaf
2 parts peppermint leaf
1 part ginger root

Sleep Tincture
1 part chamomile flowers
1 part lavender flowers

Mood Boost Tincture
2 parts lemon balm leaf
1 part passionflower
1 part ginger root


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dried herbs south africa


Dried herbs for sale in South Africa

Suppliers of a wide range of dried herbs for sale across South Africa. Buy dried herbs in bulk!

People are turning to traditional medicine, and in particular the use of indigenous herbs for treatment.

The art of herbal medicine isn’t completely lost. Our ancestors went to great lengths to retain their knowledge of medicinal and edible plants so that we may continue to use them. Enslaved Africans risked their very safety to smuggle plants of cultural, spiritual, and medical importance during the Middle Passage. The Irish labored to protect their own ancient herbal legacies against the destruction of repeated invasions. It’s a testament to the resilience of people that they preserved their healing traditions, despite being faced with incredible hardship such as forced migration from their motherlands. For some, their histories go farther back than any textbook cares to mention, and their herbal knowledge has been passed down through oral tradition.

South Africans too have a long history of using herbs for medicinal uses. From Buchu brandy for upset stomachs and colds and flu to Sceletium for anxiety and depression, the examples are many.

Of recent importance is the research being done on African Wormwood (Artemisia afra) and it possible use as a natural preventative and even possible cure for covid-19! Another traditional herb worth mentioning is cancer bush. Constituents in Sutherlandia have antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and anticancer properties. Sutherlandia is also known as cancer bush for its purported use as a cancer treatment. There are case reports of Sutherlandia’s ability to reduce fatigue in cancer patients.

If you are wanting to buy the finest dried herbs for sale in South Africa then visit our online medicinal herbs store here.

If we don’t have the Herb you are wanting contact us and we will source it for you.

Whatever the reason, Hippocrates said it best, Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.



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medicinal plants of south africa pdf


African Herbs

Below find useful information on African herbs and the uses thereof.

The use of medicinal plants as a fundamental component of the African traditional healthcare system is perhaps the oldest and the most assorted of all therapeutic systems. In many parts of rural Africa, traditional healers prescribing medicinal plants are the most easily accessible and affordable health resource available to the local community and at times the only therapy that subsists.

African traditional medicine (ATM) has been used by African populations for the treatment of diseases long before the advent of orthodox medicine and continues to carry a part of the burden of health for the majority of the population. South Africa, as a member state of the World Health Organization, has been set on the path of institutionalizing African traditional medicine.

Herbalism, divination, and spiritualism often combine in traditional African medicine, perhaps the oldest and most varied therapeutic system in the world. This holistic health care system has many practitioners and followers and despite its decline for a period of time, traditional African medicine has resurged across the continent in recent years.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it has been estimated that “about 80% of the population in developing countries depends on traditional medicine or “CAMS” (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) for their Primary Health Care (PHC) needs.

Traditional African medicine is a range of traditional medicine disciplines involving indigenous herbalism and African spirituality, typically including diviners, midwives, and herbalists. Practitioners of traditional African medicine claim to be able to cure a variety of diverse conditions including cancer, psychiatric disorders, high blood pressure, cholera, most venereal diseases, epilepsy, asthma, eczema, fever, anxiety, depression, benign prostatic hyperplasia, urinary tract infections, gout, and healing of wounds and burns and even Ebola.

Southern Africa is an important focal point of botanical and cultural diversity but only a few African herbs plant species have hitherto become fully commercialized as medicinal products. In recent years there has been an upsurge in research and development activity, resulting in new products and new crops.

The first systematic account of the medicinal plants of South Africa were published by Pappe, 1847, who described all the most important traditional herbal medicines known at the time. The Flora Capensis (a colonial flora) started by Harvey and Sonder (1860, 1862, 1864) included anecdotal information about the medicinal uses of several species and was probably intended as a plant use catalogue to facilitate the British imperial trade in plant products. A historically important book on medicinal plants is that of Smith (1888, revised in 1895) which provides insight into the most popular traditional medicine of the Eastern Cape region at that time. The Flora of South Africa published in six volumes by Marloth (1913–1932) also included information about commercially relevant plants. Marloth was a trained pharmacist with a special interest in medicinal plants.

An important milestone in the documentation of medicinal plants was the detailed and comprehensive work of Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk (1962), “The Medicinal and Poisonous Plants of Southern and Eastern Africa”, which is still regularly cited in scientific publications. Van Wyk et al. (1997) further conceptualized and popularized the field of medicinal plants in South Africa with the book entitled “Medicinal Plants of South Africa”, which included short scientific monographs of 132 of the most popular and widely used medicinal plants. An updated and expanded edition, now including 150 monographs, is available (Van Wyk et al., 2009). Van Wyk and Gericke (2000) presented detailed information on a large number of medicinal plants in Part 2 of the book “People’s Plants”, which includes chapters on general medicines, tonic plants, mind and mood plants, women’s health, wounds, burns and skin conditions, dental care, perfumes and repellents, and soaps and cosmetics. A comprehensive list of southern African medicinal plants (with literature references) is that of Arnold et al. (2002).

Several other books provided valuable information on a regional level, especially those on Zulu medicinal plants by Hutchings et al. (1996), useful Namibian plants by Von Koenen (2001) and Sotho medicinal plants by Moffett (2010). Especially relevant in the context of new product development is the book edited by Diederichs (2006), entitled “Commercializing medicinal plants. A South African guide”. The various chapters cover many aspects of research and development, including sustainable harvesting, conservation, trade regulations, economics, propagation, cultivation, chemistry and pharmacology, processing and packaging, marketing, business development and benefit-sharing.

Under apartheid and colonial South Africa, the practice of TM was deemed unscientific and illegal. It was considered to be uncivilized, suspect, scientifically unfounded, backward and superstitious. The Witchcraft Suppression Act of 1957 and the Witchcraft Suppression Amendment Act of 1970 declared TM unconstitutional and prohibited practitioners of TM from doing their business. Cooperation between conventional health practitioners (CHPs) and THPs was outlawed by the Medical Association of South Africa in 1953. The prohibition of TM was somewhat based on the conviction that the concept of disease and illness in Africa was generally rooted in witchcraft.

An attempt to regulate the practice of THPs was made in 1982 through the promulgation of the Associated Health Service Professions Act of 1982, as amended [20]. This Act set up a registration and licencing scheme for herbalists, chiropractors, homoeopaths, osteopaths and naturopaths, but prohibited their use of the title ‘Medical Practitioner’. The province of KwaZulu-Natal was the exception and had a different law on the licencing and control of THPs, which was covered by the KwaZulu Act on the Code of Zulu Law (CZL) of 1981. The CZL allowed for the practice of THPs who were licenced and allowed for them to claim a fee for services rendered.

Before the first democratic government in South Africa in 1994, the African National Congress (ANC) submitted in its health plan that THPs would become an integral and recognised part of the health care system in South Africa. It claimed that patients would be granted the right to choose their preferred health care practitioner. At the same time, the ANC realised the need to regulate the practise of THPs in order to protect patients from harmful practices. The ANC health plan further stated the need to promote cooperation and liaison between THPs and allopathic health practitioners.

To date African herbs still fall under traditional medicine and are therefor not scheduled nor able to be overseen by SAHPRA.


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