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63993258-fresh-medicinal-healing-herbs-on-wooden African traditional medicine is the oldest, and perhaps the most assorted, of all therapeutic systems. Africa is considered to be the cradle of mankind with a rich biological and cultural diversity marked by regional differences in healing practices.

Aloe ferox Mill. (Xanthorrhoeaceae)—Bitter Aloe or Cape Aloe

Aloe ferox is native to South Africa and Lesotho and is considered to be the most common Aloe species in South Africa. A. ferox has been used since time immemorial and has a well-documented history of use as an alternative medicine and is one of the few plants depicted in San rock paintings. The bitter latex, known as Cape aloe, is used as laxative medicine in Africa and Europe and is considered to have bitter tonic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties

The use of A. ferox as a multipurpose traditional medicine has been translated into several commercial applications and it is a highly valued plant in the pharmaceutical, natural health, food, and cosmetic industries. A. ferox is considered South Africa's main wild harvested commercially traded species. The finished product obtained from aloe tapping, aloe bitters, has remained a key South African export product since 1761 when it was first exported to Europe.

The aloe tapping industry is the livelihood of many rural communities and formalization of the industry in the form of establishment of cooperatives and trade agreements. It has been suggested that its trade may have an extensive poverty alleviation effect in Africa.

Artemisia herba-alba Asso (Med)—Asteraceae—Wormwood

Artemisia herba-alba is commonly known as wormwood or desert wormwood (known in Arabic as shih, and as Armoise blanche in French). It is a greyish strongly aromatic perennial dwarf shrub native to the Northern Africa, Arabian Peninsula, and Western Asia. A. herba-alba has been used in folk medicine by many cultures since ancient times. In Moroccan folk medicine, it is used to treat arterial hypertension and diabetes and in Tunisia, it is used to treat diabetes, bronchitis, diarrhea, hypertension, and neuralgias [34, 35]. Herbal tea from A. herba-alba has been used as analgesic, antibacterial, antispasmodic, and hemostatic agents in folk medicines [34–39]. During an ethnopharmacological survey carried out among the Bedouins of the Negev desert, it was found that A. herba-alba was used to mitigate stomach disorders. This plant is also suggested to be important as a fodder for sheep and for livestock in the plateau regions of Algeria where it grows abundantly. It has also been reported that Ascaridae from hogs and ground worms were killed by the oil of the Libyan A. herba-alba in a short time.

Aspalathus linearis (Brum.f.) R. Dahlg. (Fabaceae)—Rooibos

Aspalathus linearis, an endemic South African fynbos species, is cultivated to produce the well-known herbal tea, also commonly known as rooibos. Its caffeine-free and comparatively low tannin status, combined with its potential health-promoting properties, most notably antioxidant activity, has contributed to its popularity and consumer acceptance globally. The utilization of rooibos has also moved beyond a herbal tea to intermediate value-added products such as extracts for the beverage, food, nutraceuticals and cosmetic markets.Rooibos is used traditionally throughout Africa in numerous ways. It has been used as a refreshment drink and as a healthy tea beverage. It was only after the discovery that an infusion of rooibos, when administered to her colicky baby, cured the chronic restlessness, vomiting, and stomach cramps that rooibos became well known as a “healthy” beverage, leading to a broader consumer base. Many babies since then have been nurtured with rooibos—either added to their milk or given as a weak brew.

Harpagophytum procumbens (Burch.) DC. (Pedaliaceae)—Devil's Claw

Harpagophytum procumbens is native to the red sand areas in the Transvaal of South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia. It has spread throughout the Kalahari and Savannah desert regions. The indigenous San and Khoi peoples of Southern Africa have used Devil's Claw medicinally for centuries, if not millennia [8, 19, 91]. Harpagophytum procumbens has an ancient history of multiple indigenous uses and is one of the most highly commercialized indigenous traditional medicines from Africa, with bulk exports mainly to Europe where it is made into a large number of health products such as teas, tablets, capsules, and topical gels and patches.

Traditional uses recorded include allergies, analgesia, anorexia, antiarrhythmic, antidiabetic, antiphlogistic, antipyretic, appetite stimulant, arteriosclerosis, bitter tonic, blood diseases, boils (topical), childbirth difficulties, choleretic, diuretic, climacteric (change of life) problems, dysmenorrhea, dyspepsia, edema, fever, fibromyalgia, fibrositis, gastrointestinal disorders, headache, heartburn, indigestion, liver and gall bladder tonic, malaria, migraines, myalgia, neuralgia, nicotine poisoning, sedative, skin cancer (topical), skin ulcers (topical), sores (topical), tendonitis, urinary tract infections, and vulnerary for skin injuries. The major clinical uses for Devil's claw are as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic in joint diseases, back pain, and headache. Evidence from scientific studies in animals and humans has resulted in widespread use of standardized Devil's claw as a mild analgesic for joint pain in Europe.