South African Medicinal Plants & Their Properties!

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The KZN Midlands is home to a wide range of indigenous, rare, and beautiful plants. With forests that are home to the rare Cape Parrot, some of the last moist mist-belt grasslands, and includes habitats of many endangered species, there can be little doubt then that this area is a hot spot of biodiversity.

Granny Mouse Country House & Spa, in particular, boasts deluxe suites that have indigenous plants, graced with an abundance of Watsonias, aloe arborescens, buddleja, salviafola, crassula, lampranthus and freylina, to name a few. 

The General Manager of Granny Mouse Country House & Spa, Sean Granger, offers some insight on a few indigenous plants that are not only a spectacular sight to behold but are also known to have cosmetic and healing properties.

African Wild Potatoes

Not related to the household potato, the African wild potato is associated with the lily and is a drought resistant plant native to South Africa. Traditional healers have used it as a muthi to treat delirium, ‘bad blood’ (in diabetes), PMS, and as a parasiticide. It is also commonly used as an application of a deep penetrating ointment to treat symptoms associated with arthritis. It is also beneficial against skin conditions such as eczema, acne, scars, burns, rashes, bedsores, warts, stretch marks, sunburn, insect bites, and dry skin.

Aloe Arborescens

The benefits of aloe are well-known throughout South Africa. Its long history of medicinal use is a testimony to the healing impact it has had on those who have used the products that originated from this eye-catching, yet unassuming succulent. Its fleshy leaves hold nourishing properties that facilitate the healing and improvement of many skin-related ailments and even blue-bottle stings.

Baobab Tree

The iconic Baobab Tree is a familiar site in hot, dry lowland areas of Africa. Resembling an ‘upside down tree’ (also referring to its common name), with the branches looking like roots, Baobab provides food, water, and fibre but also has medicinal uses. The young leaves are used in cooking or to treat fever. The stringy fibres of the bark are used to make ropes, paper and are woven into fabrics, while emergency water is retrieved from the branches and trunk. The powdery fruit mass is a natural source of calcium (Ca), contains magnesium (Mg), potassium (K), and B-complex vitamins, and makes a drink high in vitamin C.

Camphor Bush

Camphor bush is also known as African wild sage or ‘vaalbos’ (Afrikaans). Its name refers to the strong camphor smell of the leaves. Farmers in the North West province of South Africa use the young leaves of camphor bush in a feed mix due to its relatively high protein content. Camphor bush helps treat fevers, wounds, and cuts and acts as a natural preservative when added to body and skincare formulations. Inhaling smoke from burning Camphor bush leaves can clear blocked sinuses and headaches, while the leaves treat coughs, toothache, bronchitis, and abdominal pains.

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