Advertisement

Medicinal Orchid Usage in Rural Africa

  • Eng Soon Teoh
Chapter

Abstract

African usage of orchids is unique because among the natives health takes on a wider meaning than usual. Personal well-being also involves success in establishing friendship, business, love, hunts and protection against natural catastrophes. Nearly 50 species are employed as charms for such purpose.

As illness is believed to be caused by witchcraft or possession by spirits, vomiting may expel such noxious items. Many orchid species are employed to help one to puke. Some species cause a person to purge: others stop diarrhoea. They are usually served as infusions, but instillation of plant juice into the ear and application of powdered tubers on afflicted limbs are examples of alternative approaches. Ansellia africana and some species of Eulophia are employed as aphrodisiac. Orchids are also employed to help women to conceive and one species to ensure smooth labour. Of the 60 medicinal orchid species, a third belongs to the genus Eulophia. Africans believe that eating orchid tubers promotes health and some Africans eat orchids regularly. Over 50 orchid species (predominantly in Disa, Habenaria and Satyrium) have been identified in chikanda, a cake made with orchid tubers. If Africans are to continue consuming orchid tubers as chikanda, such orchids need to be managed as root crops.

References

  1. AbouZid SF, Mohamed AA (2011) Survey on medicinal plants and spices used in Beni-Sueif, Upper Egypt. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed 7:18–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arnold TH, Prentice CA, Hawker LC et al (2002) Medicinal and magical plants of southern Africa: an annotated checklist. National Botanical Institute, PretoriaGoogle Scholar
  3. Assese ESP, Djahoun CAMS, Azihou AF et al (2017) Folk perceptions and patterns of use of orchid species in Benin, West Africa. Flora et Vegetatio Sudano-Sambesica 20:26–36Google Scholar
  4. Bandeira SO, Gaspar F, Pagula FP (2001) Ethnobotany and health care in Mozambique. Pharm Biol 39(Suppl):70–73Google Scholar
  5. Bhattacharyya P, van Staden J (2016) Ansellia africana (Leopard orchid): a medicinal orchid species with untapped reserves of important biomolecules—a mini review. S Afr J Bot 108:181–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bingham MG (2002) Biology of the terrestrial orchid Habenaria sochensis Rchb.f. in Zambia. Kirkia 18(1):111–116Google Scholar
  7. Bone R (2016) Chikanda Zambia: wild edible orchids, a Darwin Initiative project 2016–2019. eulophiinae.e-monocot.org Google Scholar
  8. Challe JF, Price LL (2009) Endangered edible orchids and vulnerable gatherers in the context of HIV/AIDS in the southern highlands of Tanzania. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed 5:41.  https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-4269-5-41 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Challe JFX, Struik PC (2008) The impact on orchid species abundance of gathering their edible tubers by HIV/AIDS orphans: a case of three villages in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. NJAS 56(3):261–279Google Scholar
  10. Challe JF, Niehof A, Struik PC (2011) The significance of gathering wild orchid tubers for orphan household livelihoods in a context of HIV/AIDS in Tanzania. Afr J AIDS Res 10(3):207–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chinsamy M (2012) South African medicinal orchids: a pharmacological and phytochemical evaluation. Ph.D Thesis, University of KwaZulu-Natal, PietermaritzburgGoogle Scholar
  12. Chinsamy M, Finnie J, van Staden J (2008) The potential of South African medicinal orchids. Abstracts, World Congress on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, CapetownGoogle Scholar
  13. Chinsamy M, Finnie J, van Staden J (2011) The ethnobotany of South African medicinal orchids. S Afr J Bot 77:2–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chinsamy M, Finnie J, van Staden J (2014) Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cholinesterase activity and mutagenicity of South African medicinal orchids. S Afr J Bot 91:88–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cribb P, Hermans J (2009) Field guide to the orchids of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, KewGoogle Scholar
  16. Dagar HS, Dagar JC (2003) Plants used in ethnomedicine by the Nicobarese of Islands in Bay of Bengal, India. In: Singh V, Jain AP (eds) Ethnobotany and medicinal plants of India and Nepal. Scientific Publishers (India), Jodhpur, pp 773–778Google Scholar
  17. Davenport TRB, Ndangalasi HJ (2003) An escalating trade in orchid tubers across Tanzania’s Southern Highlands: assessment, dynamics and conservation implications. Oryx 37(1):55–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dawit A (1987) Plants in the health care delivery system of Africa. In: Leeuwenberg AJM (ed) Medicinal and poisonous plants of the tropics. Den Haag, CIP-gegevens Koninklijke BibliotheckGoogle Scholar
  19. Dawit A and Estifanos H (1986): Plants as primary source of drugs in traditional health practices in Ethiopia. In: Engles Proc 1st Intern Symposium on Conservation and Utilization of Ethiopian GermplasmGoogle Scholar
  20. Grant K (2016) Medicinal plants in Pondoland. Africa Geographic. https://africageographic.com/blog/medicinal-plants-pondoland/
  21. Hamisy WC (2007) Development of conservation strategies for the wild edible orchid in Tanzania. Orchid Conservation Project. Progress report for the Rufford Foundation (RSGNC)Google Scholar
  22. Hennessey EF (1981) Cynorkis kassnerana Kraenzlin. Am Orchid Soc Bull 50(7):788–790Google Scholar
  23. Hulme MM (1954) Wild flowers of Natal. Shuter and Shooter, PietermaritzburgGoogle Scholar
  24. Kasulo V, Mwabumba L, Cry M (2009) A review of edible orchids in Malawi. J Hort For 1(7):133–139Google Scholar
  25. Kovacs A, Vasas A, Hohmann J (2007) Natural phenanthrenes and their biological activity. Phytochemistry 69:1084–1110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. La Croix IF, La Croix EAS, La Croix TM (1991) Orchids of Malawi. The epiphytic and terrestrial of South and East central Africa. AA Balkema, RotterdamGoogle Scholar
  27. Lalika MCS, Mende DH, Urio P et al (2013) Domestication potential and nutrient composition of wild orchids from two southern regions in Tanzania. Time J Biol Sci Technol 1(1):1–11Google Scholar
  28. Lawler LJ (1984) Ethnobotany of the Orchidaceae. In: Arditti J (ed) Orchid biology. Reviews and perspectives, vol III. Cornell Univ Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  29. Leong PC, Morris JP (1947) Available calcium in vegetable. Med J Malaya 1:289Google Scholar
  30. Long C (2005) Swaziland’s Flora-siSwati names and uses. SNTC Home PageGoogle Scholar
  31. Mapunda LND (2007) Edible orchids in Makete District, the Southern Highlands of Tanzania: distribution, population and status. MSc dissertation, Uppsala University, Report No. 39Google Scholar
  32. Morris B (1996) Chewa medicinal botany. A study of herbalism in Southern Malawi. Lit Verlag, HamburgGoogle Scholar
  33. Nyomora AMS (2005) Distribution and abundance of the edible orchids of the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. Tanz J Sci 31(1):45–54Google Scholar
  34. Stewart J (1981) The genus Ansellia – orchids of Africa. Am Orchid Soc Bull 50(3):248–255Google Scholar
  35. Stewart J, Campbell B (1970) Orchids of tropical Africa. A S Barnes & Co, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  36. Stewart J, Campbell B (1996) Orchids of Kenya. St. Paul’s Bibliographies, WinchesterGoogle Scholar
  37. Teoh ES, Teoh LKK (1999) Everywoman’s book on menopause and the hormone replacement controversy. Times Books International, SingaporeGoogle Scholar
  38. Terashima H, Ichikawa M (2003) A comparative ethnobotany of the Mbuti and Efe hunter-gatherers in the Ituri forests, Democratic Republic of Congo. Afr Study Monogr 24(1, 2):1–168Google Scholar
  39. Veldman S, de Boer H, Otieno J (2016) Species assessment in African orchid cake. Barcode applications, pp 10–11. https://uu.divaportal.org/smash/get/diva2:775683/FULLTEXT01.pdf Google Scholar
  40. Veldman S, Gravendeel B, Otieno JN et al (2017) High throughput sequencing of African chikanda cake highlights conservation challenges in orchids. Biodivers Conserv 26(9):2029–2046CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Veldman S, Kim SJ, van Andel TR et al (2018) Trade in Zambian edible orchids – DNA barcoding reveals use of unexpected orchid taxa for chikanda. Genes 9:595CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Von Klein GH (1905) The medical features of the Ebers papyrus. Cornell University Library. Originally published in JAMA (1905)Google Scholar
  43. Watt JM, Breyer-Brandwijk MG (1962) The medicinal and poisonous plants of Southern and Eastern Africa. E S Livingstone, EdinburghGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eng Soon Teoh
    • 1
  1. 1.SingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations