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Plant Information

Scientific Name: Siphonochilus aethiopicus
Alternative Names: Indungulo, isiphephetho (Zu), Serokolo (Pedi).

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Siphonochilus aethiopicus
Siphonochilus aethiopicus


  • Perennial
  • Siphonochilus is derived from the Greek word siphono meaning tube, and chilus meaning lip in reference to the shape of the flower.
  • The specific name aethiopicus means: from southern Africa.
  • Wild Ginger is by far the most highly sought-after medicinal plant on South African muti markets.
  • It is native to Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.
  • Wild populations are reported to be almost totally depleted.
  • It is now thought to be extinct in KwaZulu-Natal and is currently listed on the Red Data List of South African plants.
  • Luckily there are many people who now cultivate the plant to ensure its survival.
  • Wild Ginger is a deciduous, rhizomatous plant with lance shaped, light green leaves that sprout annually in spring and may reach a height of up to 40cm.
  • Male and female organs are borne on separate plants - female plants tend to be smaller than male plants.
  • It bears scented, short lived lilac/pink and yellow with white, trumpet-shaped flowers at ground level.
  • Small berry-like fruits are then borne below or above the ground.
  • The leaves and rhizomes smell like real ginger.
  • It needs fertile, well-drained soil and likes filtered sun or morning sun.
  • Wild Ginger will grow well in a big pot - keep the soil evenly moist during active growth, and drier during the 3 or 4 months that it is dormant.

Parts Used

  • The rhizomes and roots.

Medicinal Uses. It is said that

  • Wild Ginger has a variety of medicinal and traditional uses to the native South African people.
  • The rhizomes and roots are chewed fresh to treat asthma, hysteria, colds, coughs and flu.
  • It is used to treat malaria and is chewed by women during painful menstruation.

For Animals. It is said that

  • It is said that a preparation of this plant can be administered to horses as prevention against horse sickness.
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff

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