Traditional Medicines Project
There is a rich heritage of traditional medicinal remedies in the Montagu district. This knowledge was handed down by the Khoisan, who lived in the Langeberg Mountains and were expert users of the veld, to the coloured people who became farm labourers. This knowledge was absorbed by the settler farmers as it was virtually impossible to obtain medical services.
For the past twelve years the museum has been involved in a conservation research project dealing with the traditional medicinal plants of this district.
An important aspect of the project is the collecting of information about herbal remedies used in the past, as many of the older generation pass away and meaningful knowledge is lost. The remedy for an ailment is carefully written down and included a museum publication titled Herbal Remedies: Montagu Museum.
The colourful local names for the plants used in the remedies are carefully noted aas well as the area where found, and specimens are taken to Compton Herbarium for identification.
The Museum is busy compiling a complete collection of water colour sketches of all the medicinal plants used in these remedies for easy identification.
An indigenous medicinal plant garden has been created at the back of Joubert House, our house museum. The aim is to cultivate examples of all the medicinal plants of the district for public viewing, information and environmental education.
The museum also exhibits examples of herbs cut and dried in the traditional manner, slaves and various infusions.
Further research is being undertaken in conjunction with the National Botanical Institute and Department of Pharmacology, University of Cape Town.
Visitors are invited to contact Montagu Museum for further information and for lecture tours.
Longstreet 41, Montagu, 6720
Tel: 023 614 1950