What Are the Medical Uses of Sutherlandia Frutescens?

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  • Written By: Lumara Lee
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 14 September 2019
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Sutherlandia frutescens is a small woody shrub native to South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, where it has been used medicinally for hundreds of years. It is a natural antidepressant that has been used in traditional African medicine to help people cope with grief. Sutherlandia frutescens is an adaptogen which enhances the body’s ability to better handle stress and fend off disease. It is the African plant that can be used to effectively treat the widest variety of afflictions including diabetes, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, respiratory difficulties and influenza. Some people with high blood pressure, cancer, human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or wasting diseases have experienced improvement after being treated with sutherlandia frutescens.

Gastrointestinal problems can also be relieved with the use of this powerful medicinal plant. It has been effective in treating gastritis, stomach ulcers, indigestion, and acid reflux. Since it has a purgative effect at higher doses, it has also been used as a natural remedy for constipation. One cannot assume from this, however, that high or even moderate doses of this or any other medicinal plant are necessarily safe. Before using an alternative remedy to treat an affliction, a licensed professional medical should be consulted.


Sutherlandia frutescens contains antiviral properties that make it an effective treatment for viral hepatitis and influenza. It is a tonic that helps strengthen the immune system and relieve weakness caused by many wasting diseases such as tuberculosis, cancer and AIDS. Conditions involving the genitourinary system including cystitis, gonorrhea, and urinary tract infections have also been improved with the use of sutherlandia frutescens.

It is believed that the active chemical constituents in sutherlandia frutescens, although containing healing properties when used alone, have a synergistic effect when combined that increases the potency and makes this plant such an effective healing agent. One of these constituents is gamma-aminobutyric acid, commonly known as GABA. This amino acid plays an important role in proper functioning of the central nervous system. It affects brain development, nerve signal transmission, and mood. GABA is known to reduce insomnia, panic attacks, depression, stress, and anxiety, and this effect is made more powerful by the asparagine present in sutherlandia frutescens. Asparagine contains stress-reducing properties and also supports kidney and liver function.

Pinnitol is another of the healing agents present in the leaves of sutherlandia frutescens. This substance is beneficial in the treatment of diabetes and wasting diseases. L-canavanine is another amino acid that gives this plant antiviral properties.


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