The word about local wonder-plant spekboom has taken South Africa by storm. Those looking for a way to do their part in combating climate change adore spekboom for its carbon-sequestering abilities. This may however, be to the detriment of other indigenous plants.

Spekboom is indeed a miraculous plant but there are a variety of plants in Cape Town’s unique fynbos environment and beyond that deserve a mention too. While they may not have the powerful air cleansing power of spekboom they make up for what they lack with a variety of health benefits.

1. Buchu

This magical little green-leafed plant is able to treat a number of ailments. It has been used by Cape locals for years.

Used to treat inflammation, this powerhouse green is also useful as an oil, to treat everything from diabetes to digestion.

Buchu has also been recognised as a powerful treatment for the irritation and itching associated with eczema. The list doesn’t stop there, however. You can also use this wonderful plant as a tea to treat bladder infections and it helps managed low blood pressure due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

2. Cannabis 

For years a heavy stigmatism has hung around the cannabis plant. In recent years however, opinions about this wonder plant have changed.

It is currently legal to smoke and grow in private in South Africa. THC and CBD are just some of the wondrous compounds found in cannabis. Both are known to treat a long list of ailments.

Main benefits of smoking or consuming these compounds include anxiety and stress relief, chronic pain relief, help with weight loss, helps fight depression, managed diabetes and kill cancer cells.

While a lot more research is needed to uncover all the benefits of weed, there can be no doubt that it deserves more attention and respect as a medicinal plant. Hemp is also found in the cannabis plant and has unparalleled potential for clothing and plastic alternatives as well as sustainable biofuel. Cape Town may be at the forefront of the cannabis movement in coming years as the City has already moved to prepare for the industry boom.

3. Sour Fig

 

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This pretty little plant was first grown in the Cape and is a handy fire break as well as a delicious sour fruit perfect for cooking and baking with.

While it is tasty it is also useful to treat infection in the throat when gargled, treat stomach problems and ulcers when consumed as a juice and even help with teething in babies.

The pulp can also be used to treat eczema, wounds and insect bites while it is also an antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-fungal. It also has the ability to reduce bleeding when applied to a wound.

4. Rooibos

 

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Possibly one of the Cape’s most famous fynbos, the rooibos plant is nothing short of extraordinary.

Seemingly a jack of all trades, rooibos has been used in so many different forms from beauty products to teas and medicines.

Known for helping to promote heart health and keep cholesterol in check, it is also packed with antioxidants and assists with insomnia, allergies and even reducing wrinkles.

Drinking a cup of rooibos a day can do a lot for your health and its delicious at the same time!

5. Sceletium

 

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Sceletium flowering #sceletium #kanna #flower

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This small yellow flower that is similar to the Sour Fig in appearance has some truly special benefits.

It is recognisable by its yellow flowers and is used as a mood enhancer especially for those suffering from intense anxiety or depression.

Known as tortoise fig marigold, ‘kanna’ or ‘kougoed’ it can be chewed, taken in tablet form or even as oral drops. It was often used in early years as a sedative and has powerful benefits for those suffering with insomnia.

Students can also take small doses of this plant to increase concentration and help with memory. It is also often used to ween people off of alcohol and treat irritability during menopause and improve libido.

 

Pictures: Haakdoorn Nursery

Article written by

Aimee Pace

Aimee is an avid gamer, enthusiastic yogi and animal lover. Addicted to anime, coffee and plant-based meals. Current favourite pastimes include, sewing and learning Japanese.