Indigenous Health With Pelargonium
It’s Heritage Day on 24 September and to celebrate our culture and traditions, we are taking a closer look at the South African plant remedy pelargonium.
Also known as ‘umckaloabo’ or ‘umcka’, this incredibly versatile plant has long been known as an indigenous plant remedy been used in South Africa as a traditional medicine by Zulu, Xhosa, Basuto and Mfengi traditional healers. Pelargonium became widely used and was eventually held in such high regard that it became a revered remedy in other countries, especially in Germany.
When Traditional Healing Goes Mainstream
The traditional healers of South Africa typically used pelargonium to treat diarrhoea, dysentery, fevers, hepatic complaints, colds, fevers, respiratory tract infections and even for tuberculosis! Back in 1897, an English soldier called Major Charles Stevens was treated for tuberculosis by a tribal healer using pelargonium extract. This led to the herb becoming better known across Europe. By the 1980s the herb was branded as Umckaloaba and distributed across Europe. Pelargonium hit American shores as Zucol and is still widely used.
Benefits and Uses of Pelargonium
This incredible plant is an antibiotic and immune system stimulant. It is used for a range of acute and chronic infections of the nose, ear and chest. Research has shown that it eases the symptoms of these ailments and promotes faster recovery. It is also invaluable in treating bronchitis, and is also used in treating pharyngitis, gastritis, and of course tuberculosis. Good news is that it is readily available, and you can choose whether you want to take it in tincture form, or drink it as a tea.
It’s also a beautiful plant
In addition to pelargonium being a highly useful and versatile plant remedy, it is also a really pretty plant! Since spring is now in full swing, this beautiful plant will make a stunning addition to any garden!
Ref: If you are interested in the pharmacology of this plant and other medical details, read more about it here.