The Wetland Book pp 1091-1096 | Cite as

Traditional Medicines from Wetlands

  • Donovan KotzeEmail author
Reference work entry


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.


Traditional medicine Wetlands Plants Chemical defences Animals Vulnerability to over-harvesting. 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Water Resources Research, University of KwaZulu-NatalWorcesterSouth Africa

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