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Family: Sapotaceae

Scientific name: Vitellariopsis marginata

Authority: (N.E. Br.)  Aubrév.

Synonyms: Austromimusops marginata (N.E.Br.) A.Meeuse, Baillonella marginata (N.E.Br.) Baehni, Mimusops marginata N.E.Br.

Zulu names: amasethole, umphumbulu

Other name: forest bush milkwood

Plant description:  V. marginata is a small tree (or shrub) with simple broad leaves, white flowers, grey bark, and globose fruits that turn purplish-red when ripe. It occurs in the forests of South-East Africa.


  • The roots are used as an ingredient to make a commercial herbal tonic called imbiza ephuzwayo
  • The roots and leaves are used to make a tonic that is taken orally for blood cleansing or detoxification.
  • The roots and leaves are used to make a tonic that is taken as enema for sexual stimulation and to treat male impotence.
  • The roots are used as an aphrodisiac.
  • The roots are used to make psychoactive medicine to alter consciousness, perceptions, moods, and emotions.
  • The roots are used to make an infusion to treat idliso, food poisoning.
  • The roots are used to treat indigestion.
  • The wood is used for construction.

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: 

  • Ajao, A.A., Sibiya, N.P. and Moteetee, A.N., 2019. Sexual prowess from nature: A systematic review of medicinal plants used as aphrodisiacs and sexual dysfunction in sub-Saharan Africa. South African Journal of Botany, 122, pp.342-359.
  • Hutchings, A., Scott, A.H., Lewis, G. and Cunningham, A.B., 1996. Zulu Medicinal Plants: An Inventory. University of Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg.
  • Loffler, L. and Loffler, P., 2005. Swaziland Tree Atlas.
  • Manana, C.J., 1968. Umongo Wolwazi. African Medical Herbs.
  • 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.
  • Pujol, J., 1990. NaturAfrica: The Herbalists Handbook. Jean Pujol Natural Healers Foundation, Durban.
  • Sobiecki, J.F., 2002. A preliminary inventory of plants used for psychoactive purposes in southern African healing traditions. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, 57(1-2), pp.1-24.
  • Van Vuuren, S. and Frank, L., 2020. Southern African medicinal plants used as blood purifiers. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 249, p.112434.

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