Sutherlandia.Org - An information and links site for Sutherlandia frutescens

Information and links on Sutherlandia frutescens

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Sutherlandia and AIDS Patients - Summary of a field trip in South Africa... more...


Sutherlandia in the news:

- Business Day (RSA)
- NewScientist.Com
- BBC news (UK)
- Independent News (UK)
- The Cape Argus (RSA)
- The Sunday Times (RSA)
- The Daily Dispatch (RSA)
- Remarks by the chairman of
  The House of Traditional

Thesis: The influence of Sutherlandia frutescens on adrenalcytochrome P450 11ß-hydroxylase by Catherine Anne Sergeant

Current Uses

Current applications:

Central Nervous System
Sutherlandia has been used as supportive treatment in mental and emotional stress, including irritability, anxiety and depression. Widows of slain Zulu warriors used Sutherlandia as a gentle tranquilliser during the mourning period.

The Sotho name motlepelo means ‘bringing back the heart’ meaning that the plant is a traditional treatment for emotional shock and stress.

Agitated Zulu warriors returning from battle would be given an infusion of Sutherlandia ‘to take the war out’ - i.e. as a calming tea.

Virginia Rathele - a sangoma or traditional healer - in a cultivated field of Sutherlandia.The ancient Zulu name insiswa means ‘the one which dispels darkness’ alluding to its anti-depressant effect, and tot he fact that it is a powerful tonic for diverse health conditions.

The present Zulu name unwele means ‘hair’ - alluding to the fact that the plant stops people ‘pulling out their hair’ with distress.

Sutherlandia was traditionally used throughout its natural distribution to good effect to combat the symptoms of ‘flu during the 1918 influenza pandemic, and is still used to treat 'flu to this day. Sutherlandia is traditionally believed to shorten the duration and severity of the illness and it can also be taken as a convalescent tonic for post-‘flu debility.

Sutherlandia has traditionally been used in both the prevention and treatment of the symptoms of asthma.

Sutherlandia has been traditionally used for centuries to treat the symptoms of TB, including wasting, and bronchitis. It has also been historically used to treat unspecified wasting diseases.

Sutherlandia has been used to treat symptoms of ‘heartburn’, reflux oesophagitis, gastritis and peptic ulceration. Herbalists at the Parade Market in Cape Town, South Africa say that Sutherlandia is for ‘nerves and stomach ulcers’.

Sutherlandia was historically used to treat diarrhoea and dysentary, and it was used as a supportive remedy for people with unspecified liver conditions. It is slightly purgative at higher doses and has therefore been used as a gentle remedy for constipation.

Urogenital Tract
Sutherlandia was used to treat urinary tract infections, including gonorrhoea, and cystitis, particularly what would nowadays be termed ‘interstitial cystitis’.

Sutherlandia is widely used to this day by rural herbalists and ‘kruie-doktors’ to treat diabetes.

Please see our article on Diabetes and Sutherlandia here.

Sutherlandia has traditionally been used to treat gout, rheumatoid arthritis (known to Zulu healers as “the disease of the lady teachers” ) and osteoarthritis.

To this day Sutherlandia is used as a traditional treatment to improve the quality of life in patients with malignant tumours. Please click here for further information on Sutherlandia and cancer


Click here for information on Sutherlandia Safety and Canavanine


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All medical information is provided for educational purposes only and should not replace the advice of your doctor.