The name Sceletium is derived from the Latin sceletus – this refers to the prominent leaf veins which remain present as the skeleton-like structure of the leaves dry. The name tortusosum translates into ‘twisted’ or ‘tortuoise’.
Sceletium tortuosum has been used as an indigenous sacred medicine by South African hunter-gatherers, the Khoikhoi, since times immemorial as a mood enhancing ally. The first written accounts of the use of the plant was by Jan van Riebeeck in 1662, however it became well known to colonisers of the Cape and had begun being cultivated in England from 1732 – the Latin binomial was officially published by Carl von Linnaeus in 1753.
In Khoisan folk medicines it was introduced for its mood elevating properties. Traditionally, Sceletium was dried and chewed (where Kougoed – ‘something to chew’ comes from) and the saliva then swallowed. The Khoikhoi people were also known to smoke Kanna along with other herbs – including wilde dagga. Taken in large doses it was used to induce trance like states of euphoria, beginning with stimulation which would allow the men and women to invoke spirits, and then later resulting in sedation. It was further used by shepherds who utilised this medicine as an appetite suppressant whilst they were walking long distances in areas which were not abundant with foods available for gathering.
In recent years preparations of Sceletium have become quite common as anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication, being commercially grown due to the tremendous pressure which wild harvesting has placed on the conservation of the species. Preparations have included being made into capsules, teas, tinctures, snuffs, smokes, and full or partial alkaloid.
Anti-Depressant, Low Mood, Substance Abuse, Nervouse system support, PTSD
Sceletium has shown an incredible efect in aiding those trying to stop smoking, drinking or other substance abuse / addictions. It aids in alleviating compulsions and obsessions present in the mind and has also shown to reduce withdrawal symptoms.