An overview of different herbal realities focusing on the medicinal value of plants, indigenous herbs of South Africa
and aspects of the herbal industry that affect the person in the street.
Since time does not allow most of us to read long newsletters, this newsletter will only deal with one herb at a time starting with the series kitchenwise and streetwise.


• Street-wise----Medicinal herbs growing wild and recognised as weeds in the streets, garden and the wild.
• Antibiotics Part 4


For 100s of years indigenous witchdoctors used kankerbos for cancer and for purifying and normalizing the blood, then came the pharmaceutical companies which saw a buck to be made and set up their machinery.
So pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and………………..

Then the controversies started as the ingredients in Cancerbush were researched. Canavanine is said to be toxic as it affects the synthesis of proteins at the point of DNA synthesis. Yes, that is true for high dosages yet for therapeutic dosages of 300mg or 2 cups of tea a day it appears to be initially very helpful in a number of diseases. HIV aids and TB researchers indicated a marked improvement. Would that improvement have happened if the researchers not added an additional healthy diet during the course of the experiments?

Research has not been done to satisfy stringent guidelines. I consider that taking small doses of Cancerbush with a good diet will benefit in some cancers and HIV Aids. Regular users may benefit from short periods of 2 day breaks from the herb.
To label a herb which has been in the public domain (as a marketable item) for a short while as a cure all is a risky business, like putting your credit card details on face book.

More research regarding long-term effects of Canavanine and Cancerbush needs to satisfy these contentious issues. See in depth article by Stewart Thomson at Gaia organics
The handing of Cancerbush to malnourished aids patients is like selling genetically modified tomatoes---allowed but morally inappropriate to use sections of society for experiments which may have disastrous long term effects just because the companies selling the product have found a loophole in the system that saves the trouble of real research.

Cancerbush seems to be effective as a pain killer.

It has been established that Canavanine may affect Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and over the long term may cause that side effect.
SLE is a chronic, potentially fatal autoimmune disease; it affects the joints, skin, kidney, brain, serosa, lung, heart and gastrointestinal tract. People with that predisposition should avoid Cancerbush


GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter and used for cases of mental stress, anxiety and as an antidepressant. Some kinds of Cancerbush (it grows differently in differing locations like most pants) contain GABA and may account for the plant’s “folklore” use for anxiety and stress.

The Ant diabetic effect claimed for Cancerbush has been attributed to the constituent Pinitol
Pinitol helps to manage elevated blood glucose levels. It has been demonstrated to exert blood sugar-lowering properties and it mimics or enhances the effects of insulin in the body.

Asparagine is another constituent and I has been shown to stimulate the central nervous system and is a source of energy in the brain.
Good news and useful for some of our illusions. What if we discovered that most of what we perceive is false, that governments are a con, the police force is a myth, adverts suggesting you save by spending is bs, credit is a lifetime trap.
A Zen monk perceived this and said “Before enlightenment chopping wood and carrying water and after enlightenment chopping wood and carrying water”.

The use of Cancerbush for positive effects in influenza, colds and fevers is well documented in the literature about the indigenous users.

Not much is known about the effect of Cancerbush during pregnancy and lactation.
Although the Koi and Nama have always used it during pregnancy, it may not be wise and the bitterness would probably cause mothers milk to suck.

As an anti-inflammatory and anti bacterial for skin infections, it is marketed as an ointment with some success.

A general rule when making a herbal tea, ideally water should be boiled and allowed to cool a bit, then add the herb and steep for 15 minutes before drinking.

When dealing with a breakdown in one aspect of the body health, it may be wise to treat the whole system rather than focus on a single organ or system. In this way mixtures of herbs may work more effectively than a single herb—some helping with elimination and detoxing.Our mixtures contain herbs, which do all that and fortify the mineral and vitamin supply hence providing a more complete healing process with no side effects.

The process of cutting a herb generates heat so the finer the cut of the herb so too does the potency diminish that little bit. So I recommend the rough tea cut rather than teabags even though it appears to be a mission to make in the rush rush everyday world.

Guidance with professional health practitioners from the naturopath, sangoma, dietician, alternative healer to a MD is an responsible course of action when dealing with any substance affecting your health.

For more in depth details about Cancerbush and other herbs visit <<our website3>> or go to <<herbal info and pictures>>



These herb properties are directly connected to and derived from the forces of nature - if you want to call it Godhead, Greater hierarchy, Krishna, Yaveh, Allah, it does not matter—these are the forces that we can trust today. So treat the herbs with the respect due to a great natural force, never mind the ravings of a semi lunatic political, media force doing their best to undermine common sense.
Prevention is better than cure.

In the next newsletter we will deal with Cayenne pepper in the series called Kitchen wise - talking about medicinal properties of the usual herbs found in the kitchen.


Remember that the current petrochemical dominated society of the western world led by America have a serious interest in denying the effectiveness of herbal medicine and really show it in their biased research.

Asia and Africa have a different and positive approach to the beneficial effects of herbs and the ongoing research is to find use, not to create abuse.

Iatrogenesis (illness caused by the medical profession), is on the increase and many medical practitioners are finding more effective results with herbs as a cure and not as a fad.

The increase of resistant bugs such as resistant Staphylococcus has played a large part in the attitude changes.
Antibiotic herbs are loosely divided into 3 classes—bear in mind that this is a new area for western herbalists and has not yet been reduced to a mind-boggling classification by kop toe researchers.

The three classes are
Systemic antibiotics.
Localized antibiotics
The Systemic and Localized anti biotic herbs have their absorption and distribution in the blood stream enhanced by the Synergistic herbs.

This is a new area of herbology for the west and it seems that the action of Pepper, Licorice and Ginger is more widespread in the body aiding circulation of active ingredients throughout the body.

Synergists such as Rosemary, Thyme, Sage and Lemon Grass act locally and application is usually topical using very low dosages of oils.
These local synergists also work in the alimentary tract: eg Thyme and Sage tea is great for sore throats

The use of a single herb may be good because the many compounds within it act together and the whole action is greater than the sum of the parts.Other herbs added to the mixture cause a much greater action and also a more wideranging effect on the body.The process is called synergy.

The process of reducing the active ingredient in a herb to a single component and synthesizing it, is a western habit that diminishes the overall capacoty of the herb.
Some missing active ingredient of apparent secondary importance may lower the effectiveness of the synthesized product.
The overall effect of these synergistic herbs is to increase the potency of.other herbs and increasing absorption, lowering the necessary dosage, activating the healing ability of the substance and in some cases overcoming resistance.

In nature we see this a lot –in companion planting, roses like garlic and parsley, peppermint and strawberries enhance each other’s growth. To take out one active ingredient from a herb because a reductionist scientist thinks that will make the effect stronger, is to diminish the collective strength of the herbs different components.
“The whole is greater than the sum of the parts”

Systemic herb antibiotics have a collective name in Chinese Herbology—they are called herbs for toxic blood.
This is a new subject. My experience with herbal antibiotics is sadly minimal, confined to garlic and so I am going to write a bit about the herbs and give examples

A really good book on the subject for anyone dealing with herbs and the herbal user who is curious is Herbal Antibiotics by Stephen Harrod Buhner

Systemic herbs enter the bloodstream and spread to all parts of the body getting to the bacteria, which have caused a generalized toxic system.
The toxic spreading process works similar to government, police (referring here to the myth of a force for correcting wrong doings), terrorists and other such organizations----- a part of their rot spreads to all aspects of daily life usually making it less tolerable and always more difficult although the media dishes the trash up.

Nature works mainly in reverse towards light, healing and health with the occasional tsunami .
The process of healing is sometimes painful and is labeled a healing crisis.
Here we have the two different sides of a coin with opposites working in unison to bring balance to the body.

Systemic antibiotic herbs such as Sida species namely Spinoza, Cordifolia and Rhombiolia are widely distributed and in SA are regarded as invasive weeds.
Bidens species esp. Pilosa, is another systemic antibiotic effective against a wide variety of bacteria including Staphylococcus Aureus, Shigella, Herpes and Candida varieties. Also regarded as an invasive weed.

Nuts, but nature has a way of insisting we notice her good stuff.

Artemesia Annua has high concentrations of artemisinin and is used for malaria and a variety of bacterial infections. Most nurseries would have the plant
Other Systemics, which are not so easy to find, are Alchornea and Cryptolepsis.

In the next newsletter will go on to discuss the Localized Antibiotics.

If you have a problem getting the herbs contact us at << za 2>>and we will do our best to help you find them.
Outlets for our herbal teas are at this address----Shops that sell our teas
A list of our products can be viewed at Our Products on our website.
Some photographs by Ursula van Deventer.


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Glossary(meanings of some fancy words)

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