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Family: Rosaceae

Scientific name: Rubus pinnatus

Authority: Willd.

Synonym: Rubus rosifolius pinnatus (Willd.) Kuntze

Zulu names: amakonubi, ijingijolo, iqunube

Other names: South African blackberry, South African Bramble, South African Raspberry (English), braambos, braambossie, braamboswortel, braamworterls, bramble (Afrikaans)

Plant description R. pinnatus is a (scrambling) shrub with compound leaves with serrated margins, white to pale pinkish flowers, and edible fruits that turn red and black when ripe. The shrub is widespread from South Africa to tropical Africa.


  • The edible fruits are eaten as food. 
  • The fruits are used to make beverages, jam, jelly, syrup, and wine. 
  • The dried leaves are used to make herbal tea blends.
  • The roots are mixed with those of Rubus ludwigii (itshalo) to treat convulsions in children.
  • The roots are used to make a decoction to treat impotence in men. 
  • The roots are used to manage hernia.
  • The fruits and leaves are used to manage malaria and diarrhoea.
  • The plant is also used to treat bleeding gums.
  • The plant is used for wound dressing and to treat eczema and warts. 
  • The plant is used as a demulcent and an expectorant.
  • The roots are used to make a decoction that is administered as enema to cure kidney pain.
  • The plant is used as a narcotic.
  • The leaves are used to treat snake bites.

Safety precaution:

Using traditional medicine responsibly can enhance your overall health and well-being. Misuse and abuse can lead to complications. You can inquire about the correct use of traditional medicine from a knowledgeable herbalist and practitioner. You can also visit or email: to learn more about traditional medicine

References and further reading: 

  • Brown, D., 2002. The Royal Horticultural Society New Encyclopedia of Herbs and their uses. Dorling Kindersley, London.
  • Byamukama, R., Kiremire, B.T., Andersen, Ø.M. and Steigen, A., 2005. Anthocyanins from fruits of Rubus pinnatus and Rubus rigidus. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 18(6), pp.599-605.
  • Dold, A.P. and Cocks, M.L., 2000. The medicinal use of some weeds, problem and alien plants in the Grahamstown and Peddie districts of the Eastern Cape, South Africa. South African Journal of Science 96, pp. 467-473.
  • Friis, I.B. and Vollesen, K., 2005. Flora of the Sudan-Uganda Border Area East of the Nile: Catalogue of vascular plants, 2nd pt. Vegetation and phytogeography. Kgl. Danske Videnskabernes Selskab.
  • Jeruto, P., Too, E., Mwamburi, L.A. and Amuka, O., 2015. An inventory of medicinal plants used to treat gynaecological-obstetric-urino-genital disorders in South Nandi sub county in Kenya. J. Nat. Sci. Res, 5, pp.136-152.
  • Kibuuka, M.S. and Anywar, G., 2015. Medicinal plant species used in the management of hernia by traditional medicine practitioners in central Uganda. Ethnobotany Research and Applications, 14, pp.289-298.
  • Lacroix, D., Prado, S., Kamoga, D., Kasenene, J., Namukobe, J., Krief, S., Dumontet, V., Mouray, E., Bodo, B. and Brunois, F., 2011. Antiplasmodial and cytotoxic activities of medicinal plants traditionally used in the village of Kiohima, Uganda. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 133(2), pp.850-855.
  • Launert, E. and Pope, G.V., 1989. Flora Zambesiaca. Flora Zambesiaca. London: Flora Zambesiaca Managing Committee, pp.57-63.
  • Masondo, N.A., Stafford, G.I., Aremu, A.O. and Makunga, N.P., 2019. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors from southern African plants: An overview of ethnobotanical, pharmacological potential and phytochemical research including and beyond Alzheimer’s disease treatment. South African journal of botany, 120, pp.39-64.
  • Ntume, R. and Anywar, G., 2015. Ethnopharmacological survey of medicinal plants used in the treatment of snakebites in Central Uganda. Current Life Sciences, 1(1), pp.6-14.
  • Quattrocchi, U., 2012. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology (5 Volume Set). CRC press.
  • Watt, J.M., and Breyer-Brandwijk, M.G., 1962. Medicinal and poisonous plants of southern and eastern Africa, second edition. Livingstone, London.

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