Aims of the study
In South Africa, the genus Helichrysum is widely used in traditional medicine. The uses are well documented although renaming of species and the resulting confusing taxonomic nomenclature may cause uncertainty as to which specific species was referred to in some reports. The aim of this paper is to present a collated and coherent overview of the documented traditional uses of Helichrysum species and to update the botanical identity of previously studied species.
Materials and methods
Databases (Scifinder, ISI Web of Knowledge) and several books were used to collect in information on South African Helichrysum species.
The traditional uses, chemistry and biological activity of Helichrysum species have been summarized. It was attempted to give clarity as to exactly which species is refer to in the ethnobotanical literature.
Although a large number of ethnopharmacological uses have been documented and the chemistry of the genus has been studied extensively, only a few South African species have been investigated for their biological activity.