~~HISTORY AND TRADITIONAL USE
Sutherlandia frutescens – Kankerbos, Cancer Bush, African Ginseng, Phetola, Lerumo-Lamadi, Unwele, Motlepelo, Insiswa
Sutherlandia frutescens is regarded as one of the most profound and multi-purpose of the medicinal plants in Southern Africa. It has enjoyed a long history of use as a safe and efficacious remedy for diverse health conditions by all cultures in the region. It has long been used as a supportive treatment in Cancer, hence one of its common names – Cancer Bush or Kankerbos. In Tswana it is called Phetola which means “it changes”, indicating that the plant changes the course of many illnesses towards a favorable outcome. The North-Sotho name of Lerumo-Lamadi means “the spear for the blood” indicating Sutherlandia’s function as a blood purifier.
Sutherlandia powerfully assists the body to mobilise its own resources to deal with diverse physical and mental stresses, and research indicates that it functions as an adaptogen, as well as an immune stimulant (with similar properties and biochemistry to that of the well known Chinese herb Astragalus membranaceus).
Sutherlandia has traditionally been used for enhancing well-being, immune support, longevity, stress, depression and anxiety, wasting from cancer, TB, and AIDS (it functions as an appetite stimulant in wasted patients, but not in healthy people), influenza, chronic fatigue syndrome, viral hepatitis, asthma and bronchitis, type 2 diabetes, mild to moderate hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, peptic ulcer, gastritis, reflux oesophagitis, hot flushes and irritability in menopause, and herpes. Studies also indicate significant antioxidant activity.
CONTRAINDICATIONS AND SIDE-EFFECTS
Sutherlandia frutescens seed pods – Kankerbos, Cancer Bush, African Ginseng, Phetola, Lerumo-Lamadi, Unwele, Motlepelo, Insiswa
Dosage of anti-hypertensive and anti-diabetic medication may need to be reduced and preliminary studies suggest possible interactions with anti-retroviral drugs. Sutherlandia should not be taken while on anti-coagulants such as Heparin and Warfarin, and it is recommended that the use of the product be stopped two weeks prior to elective surgery.
Certain plants such as Sutherlandia, Astragalus and Alfalfa contain the non-protein amino acid L-canavanine (a likely component contributing to its anti-cancer effects). Those afflicted with Systemic Lupus Erthematosus should consult their health care professional before taking plants containing L-canavanine, as reports suggest that significant ingestion of this amino acid may cause recurrence of this disease in patients where the disease has become dormant. When used at the recommended dose there are no documented side-effects. Do not use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.