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If you are looking to join the global movement of turning to holistic health options in favor of less natural, more expensive commercial medicines, look no further. Since our loincloth and dinosaur days, we Africans have asked ourselves “What are the best medicinal plants, herbs, & ethnobotanicals to treat many different ailments?”

Even today, plants and natural sources form the basis of commercial drugs and medicines, with about 25% of worldwide prescribed drugs originating from plants. South Africa boasts some of the most diverse and valuable plant species out there. After all, our Cape Floral Kingdom was not named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for nothing. 

Here is a list of some medicinal herbs & plants with wonderful healing properties for a variety of ailments:

Buchu

Formally known as ‘Agathosma Betulina,’ Buchu is a natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic well-known for its treatment of high blood pressure, bladder infections, arthritis amongst many other conditions. 

Devils Claw

Devils Claw, a natural painkiller, helps to relieve a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions, as well as diabetes, neuralgia, headaches and menstrual pain. 

African Ginger

Much loved for its zesty flavour, African Ginger can do much more than flavour a tasty batch of biscuits. Its medicinal properties have been known to treat a vast number of conditions including; arthritis, asthma, colds & flu, coughs, headaches, menstrual cramps, mild asthma, sinusitis, throat infections, nasal passage blockages.

It is also an anti-inflammatory and natural painkiller, helping to slow down the ageing process, as well as helping to manage diabetes, treat anemia, and prevent liver disease. Ginger is also touted as one of the best herbs for weight loss.

Convinced? Make sure you buy firm, fresh ginger that is not wilted or mouldy. To prepare it – remove the skin and cut off sections of the ginger root which you can add to soups, salads, teas, or for a refreshing twist, hot chocolate

Uzara

For thousands of years, Uzara has been used in traditional African medicine as a remedy for headaches, fevers and digestive problems.

However, this mysterious herb has a sneaky secret: it’s an unofficial ‘dream herb’, (a herb that induces vivid dreams) which in the past, was crushed and snorted to explore the subconscious and communicate with ancestors.  

While it can’t promise any exciting dreams, Releaf Uzara is a herbal supplement that reduces bowel mobility and relieves stomach cramps without leaving you constipated like many, less natural equivalents do. Indigenous from source to shelf, it’s also known to help alleviate headaches, indigestion and painful menstruation. 

Pelargonium Sidoides

Better known as African Geranium, Pelargonium sidoides is a medicinal herb used to treat headaches, fever, fatigue, coughs, chest pain and acute bronchitis, as it speeds up your body’s healing process. 

Preliminary studies also show that Pelargonium sidoides can cut down the duration of the common cold, while also treating symptoms. 

While the global preference for using plants medicinally continues to grow and foreigners import tons and tons of our local plants in favour of mainstream medications every year, we can take comfort knowing that there’s a wealth of medicinal herbs and plants right at our doorstep.

Here’s To Healing Herbs!

There you have it – Our list of some of the best healing & medicinal herbs native to South Africa and how they can help you. Make sure you keep it local and add these special herbs to your diet or look out for natural supplements containing these powerful forces of nature.