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Kew's garden project is growing traditional remedies in the Eastern Cape

Plants are vital to the health of people in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, where 85% of the population rely on traditional plant-based medicine. Kew is working with collaborators in Africa and the UK to grow and use plants for the treatment of diseases

Cape arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) - Photo: Andrew McRobb

Growing gardens in the Eastern Cape

Kew has been working with partners Umthathi and Garden Africa to set up a training nursery to grow many of the most relied-upon local plant species for medicine, food and crafting. Cultivating these valuable plants in new health gardens will take the strain off endangered wild populations.

In London, the cape arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) may be just a houseplant, but in its native South Africa it treats ailments from headaches to sores. This is one of the species that Kew is recommending to grow in the new health gardens rather than harvested from the wild.

Discover more about how plants are used with Kew

Plants for health

Plants are vital to the health of people in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, where 85% of the population rely on traditional plant-based medicine. Kew is working with collaborators in Africa and the UK to evaluate many plant species for the treatment of diseases that affect many people in the region, such as tuberculosis.

Although 10,000 kilometres away, traditional healers in the Eastern Cape area are partners with Kew through Umthathi, a Grahamstown-based organisation. In special ceremonies, traditional healers bless the land that is going to be used to cultivate plants.

Plants in medicine

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