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Table 5 Socio-cultural coherence in the treatment of commonly cited medical ailments within and between sampled communities measured with the informant consensus factor (Fic)

From: Traditional medicinal animal use by Xhosa and Sotho communities in the Western Cape Province, South Africa

Ailment Nt Nur Fic
Resolve court cases/reduce prison sentence (SM) 2 9 0.88
Mental illness treatment/improved cognitive ability (M) 4 21 0.85
Improved muscle development/physical appearance (M) 5 14 0.69
Stroke (M) 3 7 0.67
Protect against black magic/bad muti/idliso1/harm (SM) 6 12 0.55
Rituals/summon spirits (SM) 5 8 0.50
Spiritual protection: infants (SM) 3 5 0.50
Spiritual protection: individual (SM) 33 62 0.48
Spiritual protection: homestead (SM) 15 26 0.44
Predict future/enlightenment (SM) 5 8 0.43
Acquire wealth or good fortune (SM) 10 16 0.40
Fertility (M) 4 6 0.40
Protect livestock/crops (SM) 4 6 0.40
Epilepsy (M) 8 12 0.36
Elicit black magic/harm/idliso1 to others (SM) 11 16 0.33
Ibekelo2 (SM) 5 7 0.33
Increased agricultural yield (SM) 5 7 0.33
Paralysis (M) 4 5 0.25
Exorcism (SM) 9 11 0.20
Arthritis (M) 7 8 0.14
Cold/flu (M) 4 4 0.00
Headaches (M) 4 4 0.00
Kidney stones (M) 4 4 0.00
Shingles (M) 5 5 0.00
Love charms (SM) 4 4 0.00
Protect against crime (SM) 4 4 0.00
Average 6.65 11.19 0.34
  1. Nt number of species per use category, Nur number of citations per use category. Fic values were only calculated for use categories with > 3 citations. Ailments: M medicinal, SM spiritual/magical
  2. 1Idliso (translates to ‘African poison’) refers to a cultural phenomenon in which black magic is used to poison the food of others, with the intention to induce serious illness, misfortune, or death
  3. 2Ibekelo is a form of black magic poison that is placed on the walking path of the victim. It is believed that when the victim steps over it, he/she will become seriously ill. Illness is said to begin in the limbs, gradually moving upward