Indigenous Knowledge System and Bio economy (African traditional medicine, food security, technology, nutraceuticals, health and beauty, and cosmetics);
The importance of medicinal plants in solving the health problems of the world is gaining more and more attention. Due to this increased interest, research on plants of medicinal importance is growing phenomenally at the international level. Moreover, a growing number of people are seeking traditional medicine for their primary health care.
Man has long been using plants to promote health, in the belief that they carry beneficial substances for a healthy existence.
Currently, this practice constitutes an amount of internalized knowledge shared among multiple users or in more traditional
communities. In Brazil, the first Europeans who settled in the land ran across a large quantity of medicinal plants used by the indigenous populations who lived here. It was the start of a series of cultural intermixes that blended the knowledge brought in by the colonizers, the slaves, and the natives. Today, the introduction of modern medicine offers another option for health practices in traditional communities that use popular medicine. In many cases, the procedures of modern medicine and popular medicine are supplemental and constitute an effective form of primary health care, which may supplement the treatment usually employed in the lower income population
Indigenous knowledge is a feature of all cultures and races. Traditional medicine has been widely practiced in Africa and other parts of the world. It uses herbs and roots in the treatment and management of diseases, predominantly but not exclusively in rural areas where there is no access to health care
South Africa is home to almost 10% of the world's known plant species and 15% of all known coastal marine species. The country's rich biodiversity has given it a scientific competitive edge in the sphere of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS).
Already, about 20 000 tons of medicinal plants are exported from South Africa each year. About 24 000 plant species exist in the country of which 4 000 are used to manufacture medicines. Current initiatives for harvesting indigenous knowledge hold major benefits for economic development, medicine and exports.
A number of these initiatives were on display at the 2017 Indigenous Knowledge Systems Expo taking place at the Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga. The Department of Science and Technology hosts the annual event. Leading researchers and academics from different academic institutions made presentations on the use of indigenous knowledge to develop cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals.
Our Chaya variety CnidoscolusPohl ‘Riana’ was approved by the Dept of Science and Technology to be incorporated into the IKS in South Africa.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized and recommended the dissemination of traditional knowledge and use of phytotherapic medicines. For this, the organization launched the document entitled “National Policy on Traditional Medicine and Regulation of Herbal Medicines” which discusses the policies for use of the genetic vegetal diversity. This document aims to ensure secure access to phytotherapic remedies, considering traditional knowledge on medicinal plants, as well as promote research and encourage the development of technology and innovation, stimulating the use of medicinal plants in different stages of the production chain, ultimately fostering the sustainable use of biodiversity