Sceletium tortuosum – Kanna, Kougoed







Benefits and Uses:

Sceletium tortuosum tablets have successfully been used by a number of psychiatrists, psychologists and doctors with excellent results for anxiety, mild to moderate depression and for children with ADHD.  Sceletium tortuosum can also be used by the lay public as a supplement to elevate mood swings, overcome stress and tension.

The plant contains the alkaloids tortuosamine and mesembrine which interact with the brain’s dopamine and serotonin receptors.

Sceletium tortuosum is natural, fast acting and not addictive.

Sceletium tortuosum has been used for different conditions, like

*anxiety states, social phobia, nervous tension
*mood swings
*bulimia and compulsive disorders
*alcoholic and addictive drugs rehabilitation support
*improvement in libido if lack of libido is from anxiety or low mood
*hot flushes & irritability in menopause
*post-traumatic stress disorder
*irritability in smoking-cessation
*getting a good night’s sleep

History of Sceletium (Kanna)

Sceletium tortuosum was used by South African hunter-gatherers as a mood-altering substance from prehistoric times. The earliest written records of the use of the plant date back to 1662 and the plant was first illustrated in 1685. Sceletium was an item of barter in the time of Jan van Riebeeck, and there is documentation of trade from the Castle in Cape Town.  The traditionally prepared dried Sceletium was often chewed as a quid, and the saliva swallowed, but it has also been made into teas and tinctures. Less commonly, it has been reported that Sceletium used to be inhaled as a snuff, or smoked, usually with the addition of other herbs.
Sceletium elevates mood and decreases anxiety, stress and tension, and it has also been used as an appetite suppressant by shepherds walking long distances in arid areas. In intoxicating doses it can cause euphoria, initially with stimulation and later with sedation. Long-term use in the local context followed by abstinence has not been reported to result in a withdrawal state. The plant is not hallucinogenic, and no severe adverse effects have been documented.

Sceletium tortuosum was used in rural areas in very small doses as a treatment for colic in infants, added to a teaspoon of breast milk, and this use still survives in some local communities.

Chemistry and Pharmacology

The active constituents of Sceletium tortuosum are alkaloids, including Mesembrine, mesembrenone, mesembrenol and tortuosamine. Mesembrine is a major alkaloid present in Sceletium tortuosum, and has been demonstrated in unpublished laboratory studies to be a very potent serotonin re-uptake inhibitor.

This receptor-specific activity, and receptor activities also found on nicotinic, dopamine and non-adrenaline sites certainly validate the traditional mood-elevating uses, and suggest additional therapeutic and wellness potential.

Clinical and Supplement Uses
Tablets and capsules of Sceletium are being used successfully by a number of psychiatrists, psychologists and doctors with excellent results for anxiety states and mild to moderate depression; and they can also be used by the lay public as supplements to elevate mood and for stress and tension.

In addition to these better-known clinical uses, there is some preliminary evidence that Sceletium may be of value as a supplement in drug addiction rehabilitation and alcohol rehabilitation support, as part of a formal program. Research directions for the future include evaluation of potential in cognitive enhancement, and the management of Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Side Effects
Very few people experience side-effects. The reported side-effects include occasional episodes of:
Mild headache
Slight nausea, no vomiting
Soft stool or loose stool with no cramping
Transient increase in anxiety or irritability an hour after initiating treatment, which resolves after an hour or so
Insomnia: corrected by lowering the dose or taking the product not later than midday


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