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.
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
Sutherlandia has traditionally
been used in both the prevention and treatment of the symptoms of
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
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.
Sutherlandia was used to treat urinary tract infections, including
gonorrhoea, and cystitis, particularly what would nowadays be termed
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