A questionnaire survey was conducted in five different villages in Mpumalanga Province. Hundred and fifty traditional healers were interviewed. The aim of the survey was to record and document indigenous knowledge held by the traditional healers on wild ginger and eight other popular plants used by them. The healing properties of wild ginger as perceived by traditional healers, ranged from healing coughs, colds, flu, hysteria, malaria and menstrual disorder, to protection against lightning. Majority (77%) said that there was no difference in medicinal value between cultivated and those grown in the wild. The majority of the traditional healers (72%) said they would appreciate proper training on how to domesticate these plants. Traditional healers do not have professional knowledge and skills to produce theses medicinal plants. Therefore training is crucial to impart these skills. The income category of traditional healers ranged from less than R200 to a maximum of R3000. Traditional healers received as few as 1 to 5 patients per day. The consultation cost ranged from R20 to more than R95. People who gathered plants for traditional healers ranged from 1 to 10 depending on the popularity of the traditional healer and the size of his/ her surgery. An experiment was carried out at Johannesburg Center for the disabled (JOCOD), Lenasia, South of Johannesburg, in a plastic tunnel and under a shade net. The objective of the experiment was to determine the effect of using a tunnel or a shade net on the yield of rhizome and to determine the effect of different harvesting periods on rhizome yield of wild ginger. The treatments were four in number, namely; two growing structures (tunnel and shade net) and two harvesting periods. On the effect of harvesting periods on yield, although there was no significant differences in the number of enlarged roots harvested between the first harvesting period and the second harvesting period, the number of roots tended to be higher during the first harvesting period compared to the second harvesting period. There was a significant difference in the number of rhizomes between the first and the second harvesting periods. On the effect of growth structure on yield of wild ginger, the number of enlarged roots was significantly higher from plants grown in a tunnel compared with those grown in a shade net. There was a significant difference in rhizome circumference between plants grown in a plastic tunnel and those grown in a shade net. There were interactions between the harvesting date and growth structure for fresh enlarged root mass. Fresh mass of enlarged roots of wild ginger was greater during the first harvesting date than during the second harvesting date for plants grown in a plastic tunnel. For small scale or resource poor farmers, herbalists and traditional healers who wish to grow wild ginger under protection, it is better to grow wild ginger in a plastic tunnel than under a shade net, probably because wild ginger performs well in warm conditions. The plastic tunnels have a tendency of maintaining warm temperatures during winter months. Early harvesting of wild ginger at the end of June 28/06 than harvesting in September. This could be because wild ginger grows rapidly throughout the summer season and in winter, the growth rate drops (dormant stage) making early winter the right time to harvest.
Dissertation (M Inst Agrar (Horticulture))--University of Pretoria, 2007.