Medicinal uses of alien plants cultivated and managed in homegardens of Limpopo province, South Africa.
Alien plant species cultivated and managed in homegardens are important sources of herbal medicines in many developing countries. The objective of this study was to document medicinal uses of alien plants cultivated and managed in homegardens of Limpopo province of South Africa. Ethnobotanical information such as species used, method of preparation and administration were collected from 300 participants using semi-structured questionnaires. Thereafter, quantitative ethnobotanical index relative frequency of citation (RFC) was calculated. A total of 75 species belonging to 37 families were recorded. Popular alien plants with RFC values >0.3 included Schkuhria pinnata, Ricinus communis, Moringa oleifera, Cannabis sativa, Carica papaya, Musa sapientum, Ocimum basillium and Solanum mauritianum. Documented species were used to treat and manage 38 medical ailments such as diabetes mellitus, injuries, wounds, skin rash, stomach-ache, chest complaints, diarrhoea, cough, gonorrhoea and tuberculosis. The use of these species as alternative sources of medicines could alleviate harvesting pressure on wild indigenous plant species, thereby enhancing plant biodiversity of the province.