The Storytellers The Storytellers Experience the Rocklands wilderness

Witvergeet (Asclepias Crispa)

The Milkweed genus is named after the Greek god of Medicine, Healing and Rejuvenation (Asklepios), and it was well known in ancient times. It was even one of the earlier plants recorded by Cape settlers (used for dropsy – water retention), yet in modern times it is somewhat forgotten – perhaps because of the stigma attached to the plants that are known for magical uses. It is a little plant with wavy leaves, quite indistinct until the yellow and brown floral umbels appear – rather hard to find, not least because it is quite rare and should NEVER be harvested from the wild. The roots contain cardiac glycosides that are analgesic in their effect, and are traditionally ground up and taken for for pain, for the stomach complaints, and for the back. Alternatively, pieces of root are worn as a talisman for gentle protection against people who mean you harm, or to help resolve an argument. We do not use Witvergeet in our products because it is rare, but are fascinated by it nonetheless. At a cellular level, the type of compounds in Witvergeet are known to disrupt the electrolyte gradient, thus affecting signalling and intracellular transportation. Communication, in short. This, in turn, can have a number of effects in the body from slowing down heartbeat to eliminating excess water, from pain relief to assistance with diarrhea. Interesting how the knowledge of the phytochemistry somehow confirms the magical use, is it not?