Sceletium tortuosum herba has likely been a part of human consumption since prehistoric times, but the ancient plant has been reinvigorated today as a modern way of combating anxiety, as well as other conditions.
Sceletium, more commonly known as “kanna,” has been used for thousands of years, notably by the Hottentots in the Southern part of Africa.
The Khoi-khoi and San peoples used it as a mood enhancer, among other remedies, and it was essential for those who had to travel long distances or had jobs that were isolating.
Shepherds, in fast, are some of the classic users, as it helped them while away the hours on their own as they watched the flocks.
It was also used as an oral anesthesia for minor dental work by cavemen. Later settlers adopted the plants for similar purposes when they arrived on the continent, and is still used for that purpose in rural areas of Africa today.
More recently, sceletium has been used to treat stomach pains and as an appetite and thirst suppressant. It treats colic when given in small doses, and some swear that it helps wean alcoholics or others struggling with abusive substances away from their addiction.
Traditionally sceletium was chewed, but it can also be found in teas, cigarettes, snuff, gel caps and tinctures.
The most common use, however, is the one that the cavemen valued—as a mood enhancer. Most find that sceletium decreases anxiety and functions as a natural selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). In fact, one way it is used today is in family therapy, because it can increase empathy.
In a way, this is one of the caveman medicines most suited to the modern world. Because it functions as a natural antidepressant, when taken responsibly it works to help boost the body back to a more natural state, alleviating the low moods that come from afflictions like seasonal affection disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sceletium has even been known to help rev up a dull libido—perhaps helping cavemen and women ensure survival of the species.
One quick note: This is one product that requires considerable care. Taken in high enough doses, it can make the user inebriated. Some have called it a hallucinogenic (though it is not) or similar to marijuana in that it can serve as an enhancer of effects and an empathogen-type herb.
Some users feel heightened sensations, while others report vivid dreams. Studies haven’t shown toxic effects, but the impact is different on different people.
For that reason, it is probably smart to start off with small dosages and work your way upward until you get a sense of how your body handles it.
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