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The role of the South African Journal of Botany as a vehicle to promote medicinal plant research– A bibliometric appraisal

Viljoen, Alvaro, Sandasi, Maxleene, Vermaak, Ilze
South African journal of botany 2019 v.122 pp. 3-10
Adansonia, Aspalathus, Cyclopia, antioxidants, flora, landscapes, malaria, medicinal plants, screening, traditional medicine, tuberculosis, South Africa
South Africa's unique flora and extensive use of African traditional medicines has created a unique research opportunity on medicinal plants for local and international scientists. In this paper, submitted to a special issue of South African Journal of Botany(SAJB) dedicated to “sub-Saharan Ethnobotany”, we aim to explore the research landscape on medicinal plant research as published in SAJB. A bibliometric assessment (1982–2017) showed that medicinal plant research represents 24% of the published volume in SAJB and that contributions on this topic are increasing exponentially. Although most papers are broad-basedinvitro screening studies, the range of topics covered is impressive. Antimicrobial (41%) and anti-oxidant (21%) studies dominate the research space with fewer studies focusing on diseases highly relevant to the African continent, e.g. malaria (3%) and tuberculosis (2%). Although the SAJB has contributed greatly to disseminating knowledge on important species (e.g. Aspalathus and Cyclopia) several taxa of potential economic relevance remain poorly investigated (e.g. Adansonia, Bulbine etc.). The citation footprint and authorship networks which have been established attest the pivotal role the SAJB has played to build research capacity and create awareness in this important field of research.