Use Pelargonium Sidoides for a Cold
South African Medicinal Plants

© Peganum
The black pelargonium (Pelargonium sidoides) has aromatic leaves and is used to treat bronchitis and sinusitis.

A small, perennial herb with tuberous roots, Pelargonium sidoides common names include black pelargonium, ‘kalwerbossie’ and ‘rooi rabas’ (Afrikaans) rabassamin and ‘umckaloabo’ (isiZulu). It has mildly aromatic velvety leaves and almost black flowers and is a well-known medicinal plant in South Africa.

Harvesting involves digging up the rhizomes (horizontal underground stems) then slicing and drying it. In South Africa, Pelargonium sidoides grows in the Eastern Cape (endemic to the Amathole region), Free State and Gauteng provinces. It is propagated from cuttings and grows in alkaline, well-drained soil in a sunny position.

Benefits of Pelargonium Sidoides

Pelargonium sidoides has been shown to safely and effectively treat acute upper respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis, tonsillopharyngitis, sinusitis and the common cold. P. sidoides was first marketed by Charles Henry Stevens in Britain in 1897 as a treatment for TB.

Pelargonium sidoides was known as “Stevens’ Cure” but fell out of favour after the development of ‘chemical’ antibiotics. Yet, various studies have since confirmed P. sidoides’ antibacterial action. It can also be used for the treatment of infections such as cough, fever, sore throat, as well as fatigue and weakness.

Infusions of the tuber are used to treat dysentery and diarrhoea. Ethanolic extracts are used in a proprietary herbal tincture known as Umkaloabo. Infusions or decoctions are traditionally used. The plant is customary used by Zulu people to treat gonorrhoea, diarrhoea and dysentery.

Medical Disclaimer

Information is for educational and informational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment offered by healthcare professionals.

By Marinda Louw