Africa has a long tradition of natural plant, mineral and organic medicines, which is a very important part of South Africa’s Culture and Heritage. Many of these medicines have been isolated, copied and patented worldwide. Pharmaceutical companies study and monitor traditional medicinal practices, the plants and methods used, and then determine the active ingredients, for manufacturing in tablet and liquid form.
Many people have lost the traditional knowledge of how to treat themselves, using available and affordable methods.
At the SLC there is a drive to make the general public aware of other natural alternatives and of the cultural and heritage importance attached to them. These are not just for medicinal purposes, but can be cosmetic as well.
Within the CWBR there are over 10,000 species of plants of which over 3000 are being used medicinally. Poaching of these plants has become a real issue, and has in some case led to extinctions as over 350 of these are commonly traded commercially.
At the SLC we educate visitors in the importance of conserving these species and look at various methods of how we can develop medicinal herb gardens to avoid degradation of the natural gene pools. This is done in partnership with the Rastafarian community and WESSA.However, there is still a huge amount of work to be done before the situation will be stable.