Main content area

Kirkia wilmsii: A Bapedi treatment for hypertension

Semenya, S.S., Potgieter, M.J.
South African journal of botany 2015 v.100 pp. 228-232
Kirkia, antihypertensive effect, harvesting, hypertension, physicians, questionnaires, roots, South Africa
Records regarding the traditional medicinal use of Kirkia wilmsii are almost non-existent. Data on the extent of use of this species by 34 traditional healers as a treatment of hypertension was documented in 2013 in three districts (Capricorn, Sekhukhune and Waterberg) of the Limpopo Province (South Africa), via a semi-structured questionnaire, supplemented with field observations. Results indicate that K. wilmsii is used by 97% of interviewed healers. The utilisation pattern of this species was highly uniform between all interviewees in terms of used part (tuberous roots), preparation method (raw prescription), route of administration (oral), and dosage strength (five to six pieces after meals). Selected mountainous areas in the Capricorn and Waterberg districts were the main source of K. wilmsii tuberous roots. This study concludes that widespread use of K. wilmsii by traditional healers for hypertension is an indication that it might contain anti-hypertensive properties. However, of concern are the unsustainable harvesting methods adopted by these traditional medical practitioners, thus indicating an urgent need for educational measures and interventions to cultivate this species.