Mondia or African ginger (Mondia whitei)

Description of the Species

Mondia or African ginger (Mondia whitei) is a perennial climbing shrub and medicinal plant that is endemic to Southern Africa.  It grows in higher areas in moist to wet forests, and even in swampy grassland. It grows about 8 m long and has a large and tuberous rootstock. The plant has large leaves that are characterized by reddish-purple veins. The flowers have yellow to reddish-purple petals and are short-lived.

Usage of the species

Edible parts include the leaves and the fruits. The roots are used for flavouring. The Babadjou people for example use it as a spice for soups, as a cure for diabetes and a cure for bed wetting of children. In general, Mondia is used as an aphrodisiac, against digestive problems and anorexia and as appetite stimulant. The roots are the most commonly part used in traditional medicine and over-harvesting has become problematic in certain areas. There are efforts to increase the (commercial) cultivation of Mondia protect wild populations and to create a sustainable market for it.