The ethnobotany of South African medicinal orchids

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Orchidaceae, the largest and most diverse family of flowering plants is widespread, with a broad range of ethnobotanical applications. Southern Africa is home to approximately 494 terrestrial and epiphytic orchid species, of which, 49 are used in African traditional medicine to treat cough and diarrheal symptoms, madness, promote conception, relieve pain, induce nausea, and expel intestinal worms and for many cultural practices. The biological activity and chemical composition of South African medicinal orchid species are yet to be explored fully. In this review we highlight the potential for pharmacological research on South African medicinal orchid species based on their traditional medicinal uses. © 2010 SAAB.

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Chinsamy, M., Finnie, J. F., & Van Staden, J. (2011, January). The ethnobotany of South African medicinal orchids. South African Journal of Botany.

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