A home herbal remedy from South Africa, umckaloabo is a plant that is often used in over-the-counter cold and flu medicines. A syrup made from it can be used for sore throat, cough, and other ailments. The plant is also used for general respiratory health.
Acute bronchitis, upper respiratory tract infections, the common cold, and tonsillopharyngitis may all be treated by umckaloabo. Known more commonly as Pelargonium sidoides or umcka, it may also be a viable remedy for acute rhinosinusitus. An antibacterial agent, the plant impedes bacteria from adhering to the mucus membranes.
Umckaloabo is available as a syrup as well as a cough drop or tablet for most of these uses. Its primary purpose when used as a home herbal remedy is to shorten the period of sickness, as well as to relieve the affected person's symptoms. The remedy also helps break up mucus, fights bacteria, and works as an antiviral agent.
Known to stimulate the immune system, pelargonium sidoides also helps prevent the spread and growth of infection. Some people use the herbal remedy as an alternative to traditional antibiotics for this reason. Tuberculosis has also been successfully treated by the plant. A mainstream treatment in South Africa and surrounding areas, it is also used in Germany, England, and other countries.
Many ingredients present within the plant account for its success in treating illnesses. Gallic acid, gallic cid methyl ester, and the flavanoids contained within the medicine provide it with its healing properties. Calcium and silica are also found within umckaloabo.
Children under the age of one should not use this treatment. If symptoms do not improve after using it for a few days, a more serious condition may exist. If this occurs, a physician should be consulted. Though umcka is generally considered a safe home herbal remedy, if the patient is experiencing kidney, liver, or bleeding problems, he or she should not take the herb. People taking warfarin and women who are pregnant or nursing should also refrain from using the product.
Belonging to the geranium family, umckaloabo has long, crowded, heart-shaped leaves that are stalked, velvety, and lightly scented. Its petals are a dark red-purple, almost black, color and are present nearly year-round. The plant has an intricate grouping of thick, root-like branches underground. This allows the plant to withstand the frequent grass fires in its habitat. The herbal remedies provided by the plant are extracted from this root system.