Traditional Medicines from Wetlands
Traditional medicine refers to the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, used in the maintenance of health and in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement, or treatment of physical and mental illness (WHO 2004). The majority of wetland species used are plants, which are from a variety of different growth forms and taxa, e.g. the red mangrove (Rhizophora mucronata) the sedge Cyperus articulatus, the grass Vetiveria zizanoides and the herbaceous dicotylenous species Alepidea amatymbica (Ikhathazo. The most well-known wetland animal used for medicinal purposes is the leech (Hirudo medicinalis). Crocodiles and turtles are widely used as traditional medicines, especially in Asia and Africa. The use of wild populations of both plants and animals is likely to continue into the foreseeable future, requiring that the sustainability of harvesting be urgently addressed.
KeywordsTraditional medicine Wetlands Plants Chemical defences Animals Vulnerability to over-harvesting.
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