Kanna; Sceletium tortuosum
The Khoisan people of South Africa, who use Sceletium tortuosum in folk medicine, introduced it to the western world. The earliest European written records of the use of Sceletium tortuosum date back to 1662. The Dutch, called it ‘kougoed’ which literally means, ‘chewable things/goodies ‘ or ‘something to chew’.
This mood-enhancing plant is known in its distribution territory as "canna”, “channa” or “kanna” (not Cannabis). It was so esteemed among indigenous pastoralists and hunter-gatherers that they travel hundreds of miles to collect plants in the wild.
The Hottentots and Bushmen tribes of South Africa have used Sceletium tortuosum as a mood-elevating herb. Although primarily chewed, there are reports of it being taken as a tea, smoked, or powdered and inhaled as a snuff on its own or with other herbs.
Sceletium tortuosum is restricted to southern Africa.
Sceletium tortuosum is used to elevate mood, decrease anxiety, stress and tension. It is frequently used as an anti-depressant. As a mood-enhancing herb, it is far more effective and rapidly acting than the well-known European plant Hypericum (St John's Wort).
Farmers, shepherds and rural folk walking long distances use Sceletium tortuosum as an appetite suppressant. It is also used as a sedative in the form of teas, decoctions or tinctures. Sceletium tortuosum is not hallucinogenic. No addiction, severe adverse side effects have been associated or documented with Sceletium.