A review of plants used in divination in southern Africa and their psychoactive effects

Numerous indigenous healing traditions around the world employ plants with psychoactive effects to facilitate divination and other spiritual healing rituals. Southern Africa has thus far been considered to have relatively few psychoactive plant species of cultural importance, and little has been published on the subject. This paper reports on 85 species of plants that are used for divination by southern Bantu-speaking people. Of these, 39 species (45 %) have other reported psychoactive uses, and a number have established hallucinogenic activity. These findings indicate that psychoactive plants have an important role in traditional healing practices in southern Africa.

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