Sutherlandia frutescens is regarded as
the most profound and multi-purpose of the medicinal plants in Southern
Africa. Because of its efficacy as a safe tonic for diverse health
conditions it has enjoyed a long history of use by all cultures
in Southern Africa.
Sutherlandia powerfully assists the body to mobilize
its own resources to cope with diverse physical and mental stresses,
and it should therefore be more correctly known as an adaptogenic
The traditional Tswana name Phetola alludes to
this: Phetola means it changes, meaning that the plant
changes the course of many illness into a favorable outcome. (Similar
to the European concept of an alterative). The North Sotho name
Lerumo-lamadi means the spear for the blood meaning that
Sutherlandia is a powerful blood-purifier or all-purpose tonic.
Article on Sutherlandia: Herbs yield results with AIDS patients
An article on the good work being done by people
like Anne Hutchings and Sister Priscilla Dlamini with AIDS
in South Africa and the results that they are having with
Sutherlandia frutescens. details...
by The Medical Research Council of South Africa
The results of the recent three
month safety study conducted by the IKS division of the Medical
Research Council of South Africa have shown that Sutherlandia
frutescens is totally safe and non-toxic within the parameters
of this study. more...
To get a copy of the safety study
results in pdf format,
The Sutherlandia plant was chosen to be on
the South African national postage stamps
The indigenous, folk, and contemporary uses of Sutherlandia include use as a tonic for:
- enhancing well-being
- immune support
- stress, depression and anxiety
- wasting from cancer, TB, and AIDS
- quality-of-life tonic for cancers, HIV/AIDS and TB
- appetite stimulant in wasted patients, but not in healthy
- Chronic Fatigues Syndrome,
ME Syndrome and Yuppie Flu
- viral hepatitis
- asthma and bronchitis
- type 2 diabetes
- mild to moderate hypertension
- rheumatoid arthritis
- peptic ulcer, gastritis, and
- hot flashes and irritability in menopause
Lax spreading shrubs to 1,2m high, with prostrate to erect stems;
leaves compound pinnate with leaflets oblong to linear-elliptic,
mostly three or more times longer than wide, slightly to densely
hairy, the latter silvery in appearance; flowers (Jul-Dec) bright
scarlet, borne in terminal racemes; fruit an inflated leathery
pod, 1.3-2 times as long as wide, bearing a persistent upturned
style; seeds black, flattened, ± 3mm in diameter.
Sutherlandia frutescens is one of five currently recognised Sutherlandia
species, all of which are confined to Southern Africa. The species
are difficult to distinguish because they often grade into each
other and some botanists consider them to be merely different
forms of a single large and variable species. Three of the species,
Sutherlandia frutescens, S. microphylla and S. tomentosa have
overlapping distributions in the Western Cape Province and are
probably used interchangeably in this area as kankerbos.
of an Adaptogen (from
- a substance that invigorates or strengthens
the system (also called a tonic).
- Increases the body's ability to adapt to internal
or external stress.
- is a term that applies to herbs that maintain
health by increasing the body's ability to adapt to environmental
and internal stress. Adaptogens generally work by strengthening
the immune system, nervous system and/or glandular systems.
- A substance that modifies the metabolism of
the body to combat particular forms of environmental stress.
- herbs that act in a nonspecific way to strengthen
the body and increase resistance to disease and stress.