African Traditional Medicine

There are more than 20,000 indigenous plant species in South Africa, which is described as a hotspot of botanical diversity. Several thousand of them are used by traditional healers every day in that country for treating a range of problems from the common cold to serious diseases such as AIDS. The International Center for Indigenous Phytotherapy Studies (TICIPS), a collaborative research effort between the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of the Western Cape, will investigate whether Sutherlandia, or Lessertia frutescens, is safe in HIV-infected patients and prevents wasting and Artemisia afra, widely used to treat respiratory infections, might be useful in treating Tuberculosis according to scientists.