Those looking for an old-school remedy to all-too-modern ailments have a friend in sutherlandia frutescens, a South African legume whose effectiveness is indicated by one of the other names people use to refer to it: cancer bush.
To many, sutherlandia frutescens is as welcome in the medicine cabinet as it is in the garden.
This is a small, woody shrublet, with small leaves that look silver in the light and are aromatic but bitter-tasting (don’t try and get this into your system by adding it your salad).
The plant has orange-red flowers when in bloom, and is ornamental enough to have a place in the backyard or greenhouse solely based on looks.
But it is the medicinal properties of sutherlandia frutescens that are of the greatest interest. The plant has long been used locally to treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, to bring down fevers, and to wash out wounds.
Sutherlandia frutescens is commonly used to treat hypertension, too, as well as anxiety and depression.
As the centuries passed and knowledge of the plant grew, it became even more sought-after. It has been used to treat adult-onset Type II diabetes, chicken pox, tuberculosis, liver problems, stomach ailments and, of course, cancer. You name it, and somebody’s used this plant as a cure.
This ancient remedy comes in the form of a plant that was likely known and used by our caveman ancestors. It helped them cope with their health concerns.
Could it also work for us? It certainly looks that way. This is a case where folk wisdom seems to have some merit.
Studies have shown that the plant possesses analgesic, anti-inflammatory and hypoglycemic properties.
Two independent studies conducted at South African universities demonstrated stress-relieving and antioxidant properties. And you can probably guess how it got its nickname; because of its cancer-fighting properties.
It’s also used by some to fight that most modern of ailments: HIV. In that regard, one of the useful properties of this plant may be that it improves the appetite and, for many, leads to an increased energy level and more energetic outlook.
By allowing the body to function properly, and not be overwhelmed by anxiety, low appetite and sluggishness, it helps encourage patients to keep fighting in their recovery. It also allows them to eat and move around in comfort to help the body heal itself.
Sutherlandia frutescens can now be found in capsule form, although some prefer to drink it as a tonic before meals.
Of all the plant-based remedies that still seem to work today, Sutherlandia frutescens may be the most versatile. Because it seems to help the human body function at its peak, it helps fight off infections, digestive ailments, illness and perhaps even serious health problems.
Also, because of the comforts of modern trade and transportation, you don’t even have to travel to Africa to get it.
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