The use of metal salts in South African traditional medicine

Renee Anne Street


Heavy metals are a recognized contaminant or adulterant of many traditional remedies. Numerous reports have indicated significant levels of metals in South African traditional remedies which have led to acute and/or chronic illnesses. Owing to the fact that millions of South Africans rely on traditional medicines for their primary health care needs, there is insufficient pragmatic information regarding the use of commonly used metal salts. Identifying such metal salts will warn of actual and present hazards in the traditional medicine trade through risk identification. This study will provide information on the use of potentially hazardous metal salts which will serve to educate Traditional Health Practitioners (THPs) and healthcare workers as to the potential hazards of using such metal salts and to recognize signs of poisoning.