ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE : This paper presents results of an ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used
for the management of candidiasis and related fungal infections in the Venda area, South Africa.
MATERIALS AND METHODS : Ethnobotanical data about the uses of plants were gathered from eleven rural traditional
healers using semi-structured interviews.
RESULTS : A total of 45 species belonging to 24 different families were identified, of which the dominant family was the
Fabaceae with 13 species (28.9%) followed by the Asteraceae and Solanaceae with 3 species each (6.7 %). A total
of 28 of these plant species (62.2%) have been shown to have anticandidal activity and 14 species (31%) have been
recorded for antifungal uses in the literature. Amongst the 45 species recorded, 51% were trees, 33% were shrubs,
and 16% were herbs. The most widely used plant species were Acacia caffra, Clerodendrum glabrum, Croton
gratissimus, Elaeodendron transvaalense, Faurea saligna, Hippocratea longipetiolata, Osyris lanceolata, Richardia
brasiliensis, Schkuhria pinnata, Schotia brachypetala, Spilanthes acmella, Strychnos potatorum, Vangueria infausta
subsp. infausta and Withania somnifera. The plant parts mostly used in the therapeutic preparations were roots
(27.7%), bark (23.2%), and a combination of roots, bark (18.7%) and leaves (14.3%). Decoctions (44.4%), infusions
(20%), macerations (17.7%), burning (11.4%) and paste (6.5%) were used. Most of the herbal remedies were
administered orally. The main factors threatening the conservation status of these plants are unsustainable methods
of harvesting, logging for firewood, building materials and crafts.
CONCLUSION : The Venda area is rich in plant diversity and local indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants can play an
important role as a model for low cost primary health care. Further studies are in progress to validate the indigenous
plants recorded as traditional remedies in this area.