The Storytellers The Storytellers Experience the Rocklands wilderness

Kruidtjie-roer-my-nie (Melianthus Major)

There is no mistaking Melianthus for something else. A large ,blue-green shrub with jagged, fingered leaves, often larger than a man’s hand, and spike of deep russet-coloured flowers, it exudes a pungent odour when touched or disturbed. The nectar of the flowers produces a black honey which is believed to be toxic. In fact, all parts of the plant, particularly the roots, are poisonous. And yet, used externally, it is a plant of exceptional medicinal value, has been in use for thousands of years, and still is to this day. A leaf poultice or ointment can be applied to serious bites, including dog bites, in order to draw out the infection. Cytotoxic snakebites can also be treated in this way. For neurotoxic snake bites, a piece of plant stem would traditionally be placed inside the cheek – this would impede the neurological effects of the venom and make breathing easier. Leaf poultices or ointments can also be applied quite effectively to treat gout, rheumatism, back pain, arthritis and other deep inflammatory conditions. Electromagnetic and neurological disturbances such as restless legs syndrome, epilepsy and even bipolar disorder are often treated by bathing in dried melianthus leaves. We use Melianthus in: Deep relief balm, Detoxifying bath salts