PLANTS USED IN THE CIRCUMCISION RITES OF THE XHOSA TRIBE IN SOUTH AFRICA
Among the Xhosa-speaking tribes in South Africa, circumcision is not just a surgery; it is a cultural ceremony by which men are separated from boys. Traditionally, the wound caused by circumcision is bandaged with mashed leaves of Helichrysum pedunculatum Hilliard & Burtt., H. appendiculatum Hilliard & Burtt. or H. longifolium DC (Family Asteraceae). The dry outer covering of the bulb of Boophane disticha Herb. (Family Amaryllidaceae) is used to dress the wound. However, traditional circumcision has a high risk of infection. Hence the antimicrobial properties of the plants used to bandage circumcision wound were examined. Sterilized plant extracts were tested against the common bacteria that infect circumcision wounds, viz. Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptococcus viridans and Escherichia coli, using the agar plate diffusion method. The leaves of Helichrysum pedunculatum exhibited the highest inhibitory effect against all tested bacterial strains.
Dilika, N.F., Nikolova, R.V. and Jacobs, T.V. (1996). PLANTS USED IN THE CIRCUMCISION RITES OF THE XHOSA TRIBE IN SOUTH AFRICA. Acta Hortic. 426, 165-170
Circumcision, medicinal plants, Xhosa-speaking tribes, South Africa