JOHANNESBURG – A study by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) has found that the turnover of traditional medicine stands at about R18 billion per annum.
This was revealed at the launch of the National Biodiversity Assessment 2019 in Tshwane on Thursday. The study was conducted by more than 480 scientists and formed part of the third assessment.
Researchers conducted several studies, which included the use of plants by traditional healers. There were about 200,000 registered traditional healers across the country who served 70% of the population.
The SANBI study revealed that of the country’s plants, 2,000 were used as medicine by traditional healers.
Researcher Carol Poole said: “It shows the dependency people have on medicinal plants across the country and we understand there are about 2,000 medicinal plans. It’s amazing and about 10% of the country’s flora and 250 of those are in regular use,” she said.
Poole warned that it appeared the country was gradually running short of traditional medicine and healers were forced to travel as far as Botswana and Zimbabwe.
“We are seeing that the traders can’t get the stoke anymore, we’ve done regular assessments on some of those species and some of them are threatened.”
She said plants used for medicine had shown to be an important resource for many South Africans.
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