Cancer Bush; Sutherlandia frutescens
Sutherlandia frutescens is regarded as one of the most significant 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. The coastal form of the species, known as Sutherlandia frutescens var. incana, is said to be particularly effective.
The traditional Tswana name Phetola alludes to this: Phetola means it changes, meaning that the plant changes the course of many illnesses into a favourable outcome (similar to the European concept of an adaptogen).
The North Sotho name Lerumo-lamadi means the spear for the blood meaning that the plant is a powerful blood-purifier or all-purpose tonic.
The ancient Zulu name is Insiswa. This means the one who dispels darkness. This most probably refers to the plant’s anti-depressant effect, and the fact that it is a great herbal medicine for a diverse range of health conditions.
The medicinal uses of Sutherlandia frutescens probably started with the Koi and Mana people. The plant was introduced to the early European settlers in the Cape. It gained popularity with the Afrikaans and English communities and has been used ever since as a Cape remedy for cancers and as a bitter tonic.
Recently, Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa widely recognised as the leader of the African traditional healer community, championed the Sutherlandia Frutescens as an herbal remedy for HIV/Aids patients. Subsequently, medical doctors and professors, who verified the plant’s extraordinary benefits for HIV/Aids patients, took up his cause.
Sutherlandia Frutescens is restricted to southern Africa and occurs in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.
Plant Parts Used:
Europeans use mainly the leaves and sometimes all aboveground parts are included. Not yet documented is the fact that indigenous traditional healers use the roots as well as leaves.
There is a well-established present and historical folk-use of Sutherlandia in the treatment of chronic fatigue states. Indeed in the great flu pandemic of 1918, Sutherlandia was used throughout its range by indigenous people and settlers to mange the acute illness, as well as he post-flu debility that was widespread.Sutherlandia Frutescens is an old Cape remedy for stomach problems and internal cancers. It is also used as bitter tonic. According to tradition, the virtues of the plant extends to include remedies for colds, influenza, chicken pox, diabetes, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inflammations, liver problems, backache and rheumatism. Historically, strong teas were taken. When the Europeans arrived in the Cape, they introduced alcoholic tinctures. These tinctures are still sold today in the Cape Province.