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Table 1 Medicinal plants used in south-central Zimbabwe

From: Traditional use of medicinal plants in south-central Zimbabwe: review and perspectives

Scientific name, family Growth habit Vernacular name Part(s) used and use(s) Similar uses in Zimbabwe (other countries#) reported from literature Reported biological/pharmacological activities
Anacardiaceae
Lannea discolor (Sond.) Engl. Tree Mugan’acha Fibre: extract drunk to reduce the duration of menstrual flow [9]. Roots: root extract used as eye drops for sore eyes [8] Menorrhagia [1] and infertility#[1, 10] None found
Lannea edulis (Sond.) Engl. Shrub Mutsambatsi Roots: extract drunk as bilharzia (schistomiasis) and diarrhoea [9] and gonorrhoea medicine [8] Gonorrhoea [1] and bilharzias#, diarrhoea#[11] Antimicrobial activity; flavonoids and tannins [12]
*Mangifera indica L. Tree Mumango Bark: extract drunk as diarrhoea medicine [8] Diarrhoea and dysentery [13] Antibacterial [13, 14]; anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antidiabetic, antioxidant, antiviral and antiparasitic [14] properties
Ozoroa insignis Del. Shrub Mubhedha Roots: extract drunk as diarrhoea and STIs medicine [8] Diarrhoea and venereal diseases [1] Antibacterial, anthelmintic [15, 16], antimicrobial [16] and cytotoxic [17] activities
Rhus longipes Engl. Tree Mufokosiana Roots: extract drunk as remedy for infertility in women and to dilate birth canal [8] Infertility in women and to dilate birth canal [1] None found
Sclerocarya birrea (A. Rich.) Hochst. Tree Mupfura Roots: steam directed into sore eyes [8] Sore eyes [1] Flavonoids, tannins and triterpenoids; antidiarrhoeal, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant [18] properties
Searsia dentata (Thunb.) F.A. Barkley Shrub Mubikasadza Leaves: leaf sap taken as remedy for ulcers, diarrhoea and stomach problems [9] None found Biflavonoids [19]
Searsia pyroides (Burch.) Moffett Shrub Mufokosiana Roots: extract drunk as cough medicine [8] None found Biflavonoids [20]
Searsia tenuinervis (Engl.) Moffet Shrub Mufokosiana Leaves: extract drunk as menorrhagia medicine [8] Menorrhagia [1] Antibacterial activity [21]
Annonaceae
Annona stenophylla Engl. & Diels Shrub Muroro Roots: paste applied on the boils; extract drunk as chest pains and STI remedy; mixed with roots of Securidaca longipedunculata Fresen. and sprinkled around homestead as snake repellent [8] Gonorrhoea, syphilis and snake repellent [1] Antioxidant activity [22]
Apocynaceae
Carissa bispinosa (L.) Desf. ex Brenan Shrub Muruguru Roots: extract drunk as cough and diarrhoea medicine [8] None found Analgesic, antiviral and diuretic activities; lignans and sesquiterpenes [23]
Carisa edulis (Forssk.) Vahl Shrub Muruguru Roots: extract drunk as diarrhoea and cough medicine [6] Cough [1, 24], chest pains and pneumonia [1]; and tuberculosis#[10] Analgesic, antiviral and diuretic activities; lignans and sesquiterpenes [23]
*Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don Herb Chirindamatongo Roots: extract drunk as remedy for stomach problems [9, 25] Diarrhoea#, dysentery# and indigestion#[26] Alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, tannins and triterpenes; antidiarrheal [27] and antidiabetic [28] activities
Asparagaceae
Asparagus africanus Lam. Climber Rukato Roots: extract drunk as diarrhoea and pneumonia medicine and to dilate birth canal [8] Aid in child birth#[29] Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities [30]
Sansevieria aethiopica Thunb. Herb Zvikonje Leaves: leaf sap squeezed into the painful ear [31] Earache#[32] Antibacterial activity [33]
Sansevieria hyacinthoides (L.) Druce Herb Masavamhanda Leaves or rhizomes: leaf or rhizome sap given to child suffering from dehydration [31]. Leaves: Leaf macerate given to colicky infant; leaves used as dressing on sprained ankle [31]. Rhizome: rhizome added to non-alcoholic beverage taken by pregnant women to prepare the birth canal and prevent delivery complications; warm rhizome extract given to a person with aching tooth to keep in mouth for up to two minutes before spitting out the mixture [31]. Roots: extract drunk to dilate birth canal [9] Root used as baby food#[10] Antibacterial, antioxidant [34] and anti-inflammatory [12] properties.
Asphodelaceae
Aloe greatheadii Schönland Herb Gavakava Leaves: extract drunk as constipation and gonorrhoea medicine [8] Constipation and gonorrhoea [1] Alkaloids, phenolic compounds and antioxidant capacity [35]
Asteraceae
Brachylaena discolor DC. Herb Mupasa Leaves: leaves chewed and juice swallowed as remedy for ulcers [9] Enema to stop bleeding of the stomach#[36] Antidiabetic activity [28]
Dicoma anomala Sond. Herb Chifumuro Bulb: extract drunk as remedy for stomach upset [9] Remedy for all disease (panacea) [1] Sesquiterpene [37]
*Schkuhria pinnata (Lam.) Kuntze ex Thell. Herb Ruhwahwa Whole plant: extract drunk as remedy for stomach pains [9] Stomach problems#[11] Antibacterial [38] and anti-diarrhoeal activity [11]
*Sonchus oleraceus L.; Herb Rurimirwemombe Leaves: extract drunk as remedy for stomach problems [9] Anti-diarrhoeal# and digestive purgative#[39] Alkaloids, flavonoids, phenols and saponins; antioxidant and antibacterial [39] properties
Burseraceae
Commiphora marlothii Engl. Tree Mupepe Roots: extract drunk as STI medicine [9] None found Antibacterial activity [40]
Celastraceae
Gymnosporia buxifolia (L.) Szyszyl. Shrub Chizhuzhu Leaves: leaves chewed and sap swallowed as remedy for abdominal pains [9] Painful menstruation#[41] Antiplasmodial and anti-inflammatory activities [42]
Chrysobalanaceae
Parinari curatellifolia Planch. ex Benth. Tree Muchakata Roots: extract drunk as constipation medicine and teeth washed with root decoction as remedy for toothache [8] Constipation [1] and toothache#[1, 10] Antibacterial [13, 43] and antimicrobial [43] activities; alkaloids, flavonoids, phenol, saponins, steroids, tannins and terpenes [43]
Clusiaceae
Garcinia buchananii Baker Tree Mutunduru Bark: extract drunk to reduce birth canal [9]. Fruits: ripe fruits are eaten as aphrodisiac [9] Aphrodisiac and to reduce birth canal [1] Anthraquinones and cytotoxicity activity [44, 45], phenolics, steroids and tannins [46]
Cucurbitaceae
Cucumis anguria L. Herb Muchacha Fruits: pieces of fruit left around homestead as snake repellent [8] Antifeedant [47] Larvicidal activity and triterpenoids [47]
Cyperaceae
Coleochloa setifera (Ridl.) Gilly Herb Rufuri Roots: root powder taken as a remedy for pneumonia [12] None found None found
Ebenaceae
Diospyros lycioides Desf. Shrub Musumadombo Roots: extract drunk as remedy for infertility in women [8] Infertility in women#[1, 10] Antibacterial activity [48]; lupeol and ursolic acid [49]
Diospyros mespiliformis Hochst. ex A.DC. Tree Musuma Roots: extract drunk as abdominal pains medicine [8] Body and heart pains [1] Antimicrobial activity; saponins, steroids, tannins and triterpene [50]
Euclea crispa (Thunb.) Sond. ex Gürke Shrub Muvhinji Roots: extract drunk as cough medicine [8] Cough [1] Antibacterial activity [51]
Euclea divinorum Hiern Shrub Mushangura Roots: extract drunk as diarrhoea medicine [8] Diarrhoea [1]; and troubled and noisy stamach#[10] Antimicrobial activity [44]
Euphorbiaceae
Androstachys johnsonii Prain Tree Musimbiti Roots: extract drunk as aphrodisiac [9] None found Antibacterial [52], antimicrobial and antifungal [53] activities
Bridelia cathartica G. Bertol. Shrub Mutsvoritsvoto Roots: extract drunk as remedy for infertility in men [8] Infertility in men [1] Anthocyanins, flavonoids and tannins [54]; antibacterial [54] and antimalarial [55] activities
Bridelia mollis Hutch. Shrub Mutuzvidzembwa Roots: extract drunk as cough medicine [8] None found None found
Flueggea virosa (Roxb. ex Willd.) Voigt Shrub Mushagahuwe Roots: extract drunk as pneumonia medicine and drunk before sexual intercourse as a contraceptive; dried root powder applied to bitten part as snake antidote and root powder applied on wounds [8] Contraceptive, pneumonia and snake antidote [1] Alkaloids, securinine and triterpenes; antifungal, antimalarial, antimicrobial and antioxidant activities [5659]
Macaranga capensis (Baill.) Benth. ex Sim Tree Musvosve Roots: extract drunk as aphrodisiac[9] Male impotence#[60] Antibacterial activity [60]
*Ricinus communis L. Herb Mupfuta Roots: teeth washed with root decoction as remedy for toothache [8]. Seed: oil applied on sore eyes [8] Sore eyes [1] and toothache#[1, 10] Anti-inflammatory, antiarthritic [61, 62], anti-oxidant, antiulcer, antidiabetic, antifertility and antimicrobial [63] properties
Spirostachys africana Sond. Tree Munhiti Roots: root powder mixed with porridge as remedy for venereal infections [9] None found Flavonoids and gallotannins [64], phenolic and antioxidant activity [65]
Fabaceae sensu lato
Acacia karroo Hayne Tree Muvunga Root: extract drunk as convulsions remedy [8]; aphrodisiac, gonorrhoea and syphilis [9] Aphrodisiac, convulsions, gonorrhoea and syphilis [1] Anti-inflammatory, analgesic [66], antibacterial [67] and antimicrobial [66] activities
Albizia antunesiana Harms Tree Muriranyenze Bark: extract drunk as constipation remedy [8]. Leaves: extract drunk as purgative remedy [8]. Roots: extract drunk as aphrodisiac, diarrhoea, gonorrhoea and remedy for infertility in women [8] Aphrodisiac [1, 24], gonorrhoea, infertility in women and as purgative [1] Anthelmintic activity [15]
Brachystegia boehmii Taub. Tree Mupfuti Bark: extract drunk as STI medicine [8] None found Antibacterial activity [13]
Cassia abbreviata Oliv. Shrub Muremberembe Roots: extract drunk as abortion, aphrodisiac, constipation, diarrhoea and gonorrhoea medicine [8] Abortion, aphrodisiac constipation diarrhoea and gonorrhoea [1] Anthraquinones, triterpenoids [68], antibacterial [55], antimalarial [69] and antiviral [70] activities
Dalbergia melanoxylon Guill. & Perr. Shrub Mugwiti Leaves: dried leaves smoked as cigarette to treat asthma [9] Bronchitis# and inflammation in throat#[71] Antimicrobial activity [72]
Elephantorrhiza goetzei (Harms) Harms Shrub Ntorani Roots: extract drunk as abdominal pains, diarrhoea and gonorrhoea medicine; and mixed with roots of Piliostigma thonningii (Schumach.) Milne-Redh. as bilharzia (schistosomiasis) medicine [8] Abdominal pains [1, 24], bilharzias, diarrhoea and gonorrhoea [1] Anthelmintic activity [15] and stilbenes [73]
Erythrina abyssinica Lam. ex DC. Tree Mutiti Bark: extract drunk as backache medicine [8]. Roots: wounds washed with root extract [8] Backache and wounds in mouth [1] Antibacterial [74, 75], antifungal [74] and cytotoxic activities [76]
Indigofera setiflora Baker Herb Ruvavashuro Roots: extract drunk as diarrhoea medicine [9] None found None found
Peltophorum africanum Sond. Shrub Muzeze Bark, leaves or root: extract drunk as syphilis medicine [8]. Roots: extract drunk as diarrhoea and STI medicine, root extract used as eye drops for sore eyes and teeth washed with root decoction as remedy for toothache [8] Diarrhoea and toothache [1], panacea [24] and venereal diseases#[1, 10] Antibacterial activity [52, 77]
Piliostigma thonningii (Schumach.) Milne-Redh. Tree Musekesa Bark, leaves or root: extract drunk as cough medicine [8]. Leaves:extract drunk as menorrhagia medicine [8]. Roots: mixed with roots of Elephantorrhiza goetzei as bilharzia (schistosomiasis) medicine [8] Cough and menorrhagia [1] Alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins and tannins; antibacterial [16], antimicrobial and antioxidant [78] activities
Pterocarpus angolensis DC. Tree Mubvamaropa Bark: extract dropped into ear as earache medicine, extract drunk as remedy for menorrhagia [8]. Roots: extract drunk as remedy for infertility in women [8]. Sap: dropped into sore eyes [8] Infertility in women and sore eyes [1]; and menorrhagia#[1, 10] Antibacterial and cytotoxicity activities [79]
Flacourtiaceae
Flacourtia indica (Burm. f.) Merr. Shrub Munhunguru Leaves: leaves browsed by mouth as diarrhoea medicine [8] Diarrhoea [1] Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant and antimalarial activities [80]
Hypoxidaceae
Hypoxis obtusa Ker Gawl. Herb Nhindiri Bulb: bulb chewed and sap swallowed as remedy for abdominal pains [9] Abdominal pains [1] Hypoxoside [81] and obtusaside [82]
Kirkiaceae
Kirkia acuminata Oliv. Tree Mubvumira Bark: extract drunk as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery and constipation medicine [9]. Fruits: fruit juice applied to bitten part as snake antidote and fruit juice applied on wounds [8] Diarrhoea and wounds [1] Antibacterial activity [61]
Lamiaceae
Hoslundia opposita Vahl Herb Hwahwa hwe shiri Leaves: extract dropped into eyes as cataract medicine [8] Cataract [1] Alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, tannins and triterpenes [83, 84] and antimicrobial activity [85]
Leonotis leonurus (L.) R.Br. Herb Mutodzvo Leaves: leaves chewed and sap swallowed as remedy for ulcers [9] Sores# and haemorrhoids#[84] Anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic and hepatoprotective activities [86]
Vitex payos (Lour.) Merr. Tree Mutsvubvu Leaves: leaves burnt and smoke inhaled as cough medicine [8, 9] None found Larvicidal activity [87]
Loganiaceae
Strychnos cocculoides Bak. Tree Muzumwi Roots: extract drunk as abdominal pains, aphrodisiac, gonorrhoea, infertility in men and sore throat remedy [8] Abdominal pains and infertility [1] Antimalarial activity [88]
Strychnos madagascariensis Poir. Tree Mukwakwa Roots: extract used as eye drops for sore eyes [8] None found None found
Strychnos spinosa Lam. Tree Mutamba Roots: extract drunk as remedy for abdominal pains and gonorrhoea [8]. Fruits: extract drunk as remedy for gonorrhoea and genital warts [9] Abdominal pains [1] Sterols and triterpenoids [89]
Malvaceae
Azanza garckeana (F. Hoffm.) Exell & Hillc. Tree Mutohwe Roots: extract dropped into the ear as medicine for earache [8] Earache#[90] Antimalarial activity [69]
Meliaceae
Ekebergia benguelensis Welw. ex C.DC. Tree Mudyavarungu Bark: extract drunk as remedy for infertility in men [8]. Roots: extract drunk as dysmenorrhea medicine [8] Dysmenorrhea and infertility in men [1] Stilbenes [91] and triperpenes [92]
Entandrophragma caudatum (Sprague) Sprague Tree Mubanana Fruits: burnt fruit peels mixed with vaseline and applied to area affected with genital warts [9] None found Limonoids [93]
Moraceae
Ficus ingens (Miq.) Miq. Tree Mushavhi Roots: extract drunk as cough medicine [8] Fever#[94] Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties [95]
Ficus sur Forssk. Tree Muonde Roots: extract drunk as diarrhoea and syphilis medicine [8] Diarrhoea in infants [1] Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimalarial and anti-ulcer activities [96, 97]
Ficus sycomorus L. Tree Muonde Roots: extract drunk as cough medicine [8] Tuberculosis#, cold# and other chest problems#[10] Antibacterial activity [98], alkaloids, saponins and tannins [99]
Moringaceae
*Moringa oleifera Lour Shrub Moringa Leaves: extract drunk as diarrhoea medicine [8]. Roots: teeth washed with root decoction as remedy for toothache [8] Digestive disorders [100] Alkaloids and flavonoids, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifertility and anticancer [101] activities
Myrothamnaceae
Myrothamnus flabellifolius Welw. Shrub Rufandichimuka Leaves and twigs: leaves and twigs boiled and drunk as remedy for cold [9] Cold# and other chest complaints#[1, 10] Alkaloids, flavanoids, phenolics, saponins, steroids and tannins [102], antidiabetic [103] and antimicrobial [104] activities
Myrtaceae
*Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh Tree Mugamutiri Leaves: extract drunk with Citrus limon fruits and Psidium guajava L. leaves as cough, flu and fever medicine [8] Sore throat#[105] Antiproliferative [106] and antimicrobial [107] activities
*Psidium guajava L. Shrub Mugwavha Leaves: extract drunk with Citrus limon fruits and Eucalyptus camaldulensis leaves as cough, flu and fever medicine [8]; infusion of drunk or taken as an enema for diarrhoea [9] Fever [1]; cough#[1, 11, 85] and diarrhoea#[11, 85] Anti-diarrhoeal [108, 109], antibacterial [110, 111], narcotic [109] and antioxidant [112] properties
Syzygium cordatum Hochst. ex C. Krauss Tree Mukute Bark: extract drunk as tuberculosis medicine [9] Cold# and fever#[10] Antibacterial [52] and antifungal [64] activities
Ochnaceae
Ochna pulchra Hook.f. Shrub Munimu Leaves: leaf sap taken as remedy for stomach problems [9] Diarrhoea [1] Antibacterial activity [113]
Olacaceae
Ximenia americana L. Shrub Mutengeni Leaves: extract drunk as backache medicine [8] Abdominal pains#[114] Antibacterial [64] and antioxidant [114] activities
Ximenia caffra Sond. Shrub Munhengeni Leaves: extract drunk as backache medicine [8]. Roots: extract drunk as aphrodisiac, diarrhoea, venereal diseases; root powder applied on wounds [8] Diarrhoea and infertility [1]; and venereal diseases#[1, 10] Flavonoids, phenolic and tannins; and antimicrobial activity [115]
Pedaliaceae
Dicerocaryum zanguebarium (Klotzsch) Abels Herb Ruredzo Whole plant: plant foam inserted into vagina to dilate birth canal [9] To dilate birth canal [1] and expulsion of placenta#[10] Cytotoxic activity [116]
Polygalaceae
Securidaca longepedunculata Fresen. Shrub Mufufu Roots: extract drunk as epilepsy medicine and mixed with roots of Annona stenophylla and sprinkled around homestead as snake repellent [8] Epilepsy [1] and snake repellent [24] Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycaemic [117] and antimalarial [88] activities
Pteridaceae
Pellaea sp. Fern Mudziwebwe Leaves and roots: leaves and roots burnt and smoke inhaled as remedy for chest pains [9] None found None found
Rhamnaceae
Berchemia discolor (Klotzsch) Hemsl. Tree Nyii Roots: extract drunk as abdominal pains medicine [8] General body pains [1] Antimicrobial activity [118] and flavonoids [119]
Ziziphus mucronata Willd. Tree Muchecheni Fruits and leaves: powder applied on boils [8]. Roots: extract drunk as abdominal pains, infertility in women medicine and root powder applied on wounds [8] Skin infections and wounds [1]; body pains# and infertility in women#[10]; boils#, sores and swellings#[11] Anthelmintic [15] and antimicrobial [120] activities
Rosaceae
*Prunus persica L. Tree Mupichisi Leaves: extract drunk as diarrhoea medicine [22] None found Antimicrobial, antioxidant [121]; anti-tumour promoter and anti-Oketsu syndrome [122] effects
Rubiaceae
Crossopteryx febrifuga (Afzel. ex G. Don) Benth. Shrub Mukomberwa Bark: added to porridge as remedy for diarrhoea and dysentery [9] Diarrhoea# and dysentery#[123] Alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, steroids, tannins and terpenoids [124], anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities [125]
Vangueria infausta Burch. Tree Mudzvirungombe Roots: extract drunk as diarrhoea medicine [8] Diarrhoea [1] Flavonoids, antibacterial [126, 127], antimalarial [88] and antifungal [126] activities
Rutaceae
*Citrus limon (L.) Burm. f. Tree Mulemoni Fruit: extract of fruit, Eucalyptus camaldulensis and Psidium guajava leaves drunk as cough, flu and fever medicine [8] Throat infections# and tonsil#[128] Analgesic, intestinal mucosa protector and antiseptic [128]
Solanaceae
*Nicotiana tobacum L. Herb Fodya Leaves: snuff applied on wounds [8] Wounds [1] Cytotoxic activity [129] and steroidal glycosides [130]
*Solanum incanum L. Shrub Nhundurwa Fruits: child bathed with fruit macerate as remedy for scabies [9] Rash#, ringworm#, skin infections# and warts#[131] Saponins; antibacterial, cytotoxicity [16], antioxidant and cytoprotective [132] activities
Tiliaceae
Corchorus tridens L. Herb Derere Roots: extract drunk as backache medicine [8] None found Flavonoids and microbial activity [133]
Grewia bicolor Juss. Shrub Mutewa Roots: extract drunk as diarrhoea and gonorrhoea medicine [8] Diarrhoea#[10] Alkaloids, triterpenoids and antibacterial activity [134]
Grewia flavescens Juss. Shrub Mubhubhunu Roots: extract drunk as menorrhagia medicine [8] Inducing labour#, infertility# and impotence#[10] Triterpenoids [101]
Grewia monticola Sond. Shrub Mutewa Roots: extract drunk as diarrhoea medicine [8] Diarrhoea [1] None found
Urticaceae
Pouzolzia mixta Solms Shrub Munanzwa Roots: extract instilled into the vagina to dilate birth canal; extract drunk as STI medicine and root powder applied on wounds [8] To dilate birth canal [1, 24] and venereal diseases [1] Antibacterial activity [52]
Verbenaceae
*Lantana camara L. Shrub Mbarambati Leaves: leaf sap applied on body parts infected with ring worm [9] Eye injuries#[10] Antibacterial [13] and antimalarial [88] activities; flavonoids and triterpenes [135]
Lippia javanica (Burm.f.) Spreng. Shrub Zimbani Leaves and twigs: boiled leaves and twigs drunk as remedy for cough and cold [9] Cold and cough [1, 10, 24] Antimicrobial activity [136]
Vitaceae
Ampelocissus africanus (Lour.) Merr. Climber Muzambiringa Roots: extract drunk as diarrhoea medicine [8] Stomach troubles#[137] Antibacterial activity [138]
Ampelocissus obtusata (Welw. ex Baker) Planch. Climber Muzambiringa Roots: extract drunk as diarrhoea medicine [8] Gastro-intestinal complaints#[137] Antibacterial activity [138]
Zingiberaceae
*Zingiber officinale Roscoe Herb Tsangamidzi Roots: roots chewed and swallowed as remedy for stomach pains [9] Digestive disorders#[139] Antimicrobial [16], anti-inflammatory, immuno-modulatory and anti-emetic [140] activities
  1. An asterisk (*) indicates that the taxon is known or believed to be exotic to Zimbabwe and hatch (#) indicates similar use(s) in other countries reported from literature.