The Storytellers The Storytellers Experience the Rocklands wilderness

Connecting to our wise, wise spirit through the stories of plants

The medicine of plants is not merely allopathic. Plants are storytellers and teachers. They talk to us, telling stories through the way they grow, through their physical characteristics and role in the ecology, through their history, uses and phytochemistry - and if we are sentitive enough to feel it, with their frequency. On this page, you will find simple summaries of the plants we like to work with. The longer stories are coming shortly, in episodes preceding our upcoming book.

DISCLAIMER:
None of what we write or do constitutes medical advice of any kind. We write merely for information and interest. Please consult your doctor before following any program of herbal remedy.


  • Taaibos / Guarrabos (Searsia Undulata)

    Taaibos is the very backbone of the fynbos. It is resilient, evergreen, resistent to drought and produces its brown-berry drupes without fail, mid-summer. So tough and reliably beautiful that it is commonly used as a hedge plant. So gently powerful that it can calm anxiety, ease an aching stomach and carry a small child through serious illness – yet it completes escapes notice as a valuable medicinal plant or tonic for the heart. Storytellers products with Taaibos include: Restoration Massage Oil, Anti-Inflamatory Balm, Rooibos & Taaibos Salt, Taaibos & Lavender Smoothie Mix, Taaibos Tincture

  • Wild Dagga / Lion's Ears (Leonotis Leonurus)

    Wild dagga has long been known as a plant of power. It is certainly a powerhouse of compounds that are calming to body and mind, and is used to create a feeling of centredness, wellbeing, connectedness and peace. Traditionally, it was smoked, but there are also far gentler ways to work with the healing power of this plant. Dried leaves, calyxes and flowers, powdered, can be consumed in a smoothie, or on your morning porridge, or you can simply drink it as a tea. Aside from being calming, Leonotis helps with epilepsy, irregular heartbeat, coughs, colds, bronchitis, asthma and even tuberculosis. It is also used for muscle cramps, arthritis and piles. Skin conditions caused by anxiety (like eczema and hives) can also benefit from both internal and external use. Bathing in wild dagga or using it as a balm or rub is good for muscle pain and incredible for skin conditions like allergic rashes. We use wild dagga in: Restoration Massage Oil, Anti-Inflammatory Balm, Wild dagga botanical tonic, Wild dagga Tincture

  • Rose Geranium (Pelargonium Graveolens)

    Rose Geranium is a sweet smelling plant with beautiful lime-green leaves tinged with pink on the very tips. It has a very harmonious aspect to it: simply inhaling the fresh leaves can lift a headache, calm the mood and ground the mind, encouraging a more relaxed, receptive perspective on life. The Geranium family have been in use, medicinally and aromatically, for centuries, all around the world. Rose geranium, which is grown for its gorgeous-smelling, uplifting oil, is definitely more than just a pretty smell. It has long been used traditionally for stomach, lung and kidney complaints (the roots), to heal wounds and skin ailments (the leaves and flowers), or to combat depression. Leaf infusions and essential oil of rose geranium contain depression-beating compounds, are effective in combating cervical cancer and leukaemia cells, and also kill bacteria, fungi, mites, lice and ticks. The plant also has anti-oxidant properties so it helps heal all manner of free radical damage in the system. It is also great for stiff muscles and nervous cramps. We use Rose Geranium in: Anti-Ageing Moisturiser, Relaxing Bath Salts massage oil, Rose Geranium and Rooibos Tincture, Rose Geranium Botanical Tonic

  • Agtdaegeneesbos (Lobostemon species)

    To integrate a wound or scar, the damaged or altered tissue must merge with the healthy self. This implies a breaking down of sorts. Agtdaegeneesbos, the eight-day-healer-bush, has been known as a wound healer for centuries, yet much about the plant remains an enigma, because while these plants build up, they also break down: when Agtdaegeneesbos is applied to the skin, the pain intensifies quite radically before fading away as the healing begins. Botanical knowledge tells us that Agtdaegeneesbos contains important wound healing and tissue rebuilding compounds, and compounds that protect the heart. But the plant also contains substances that are potentially toxic to the liver, if taken in isolation, at very high doses, but which are also potently anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, able to kill cancer cells and interfere with the action of viruses, even HIV. They also play a role in composting: sometimes, it is essential to eliminate what is dead or detrimental to life before promoting new growth. An ointment of Agtdaegeneesbos can be applied to open wounds, sores, bites, burns and rashes. We use Agtdaegeneesbos in Wound healing balm, Soothing moisturiser, Climbers Balm

  • Belbos (Lessertia Frutescens)

    Belbos can teach us to reidentify our own true self by recognising the boundaries to that which we aren’t. In the body, the function of making distinctions between the self and what is “not-self” is the role of the immune system. Belbos can help boost the immune system, whilst restoring calm when it goes into autoimmune overdrive. It is very popular as a daily tonic or when ill with any kind of infection as well as inflammatory conditions, from muscular pain to arthritis. It is also used for depression and stress. Not being abundant in the wild, only cultivated plants should be used. "Every being’s experience is a unique mirror onto the wholeness of Creation. Never allow another being’s experience to invalidate yours." We use Belbos in: Restoration Massage Oil, Anti-Inflamatory Balm, Calming Moisturiser, Climbers Balm

  • Buchu (Agathosma betulina)

    The intense, sharply-sweet, citrus-camphor smell of buchu is unique to itself and never fails to evoke a strong reaction; never indifference. Many people hate the smell, showing strong emotional antipathy when confronted with it. Others love it, associating its intensity with the essence of the Cape wilderness. Buchu is an ancient part of human heritage, being an important member of the group of plants that were used by the San as sacred aromatics, rubbing them onto the skin both for practical and ritualistic use. Buchu leaves are quite reminiscent of the skin itself; covered on the underside with small glands or pores, from which the scented oil is secreted. We can absorb these oils through pores on the surface of our own skin. When buchu is consumed, varied terpenes and other compounds in the plant interact with the visceral and cellular membranes, influencing their permeability and effecting all manner of change to the body’s reality – reducing inflammation, clearing up gout, curing infections and causing the body to pass water. On the skin, buchu oil is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial. If using internally, be careful – buchu is a potent diuretic and long term irritant to the gall bladder. Do not use when pregnant. We use buchu in: Anti-inflammatory balm, Restoration Massage oil, Rooibos and Buchu Moisture balm, Balancing moisturiser, Rooibos and buchu deodorant balm, Rooibos, taaibos and buchu herbal salt, Rooibos and buchu coconut and clay soap,Buchu tincture, Rooibos, cedar and buchu brandy

  • Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)

    The happy, uplifting, lemony scent of lemongrass is quite different to the serious, but clean and clear energy of the plant itself. Lemongrass is full of benefits – from a delicious tea or flavour in food to protecting the body from infection; from help for cramps, to clearing up of skin ailments. The base of the stem, dried and powdered, is known as Sereh powder, and has been used in Asian cooking for hundreds of years. The essential oil and infusion of the bulb and leaves can be used in a topical oil or balm for massaging sore muscles, applying to bites and infections (even ringworm), clearing up infected pimples, deodorising or simply having a lovely scent. Lemongrass tea is calming and also good for inflammation in the digestive system. The main compounds in Lemongrass include Citral, Geraniol and Linalool, which are all beneficial for muscle tissue and supporting the protective, “clearing up” work of the immune system. We use lemongrass in: Rooibos and Lemongrass Culinary Salt, Rooibos and Lemongrass Coconut and Clay Soap, Rooibos, Lavender and Lemongrass Farmhouse Soap, Lemongrass and Clove Farmhouse Soap, Energising Moisturiser, Bug Bite balm, Rooibos and Lemongrass Bath salts, Lavender and Lemongrass Perfume balm, Rose Geranium and Lemongrass massage oil, Lemongrass and Rooibos Botanical Tonic, Lemongrass and Rooibos Deodorant balm

  • Lavender (Lavandula stoechas)

    Lavender has a gentle, welcoming energy that instantly makes one feel calmer, more held. It has been used as a medicinal herb since antiquity, particularly in the Mediterranean region, and has a huge variety of therapeutic uses. Lavender is a well-known sedative, and is used in tea and aromatherapy for depression, insomnia and anxiety. Its oil has been found to be helpful in the prevention and treatment of heart disease and pulmonary infections. It can help alleviate pain, relieve inflammation and spasms, assist with rheumatism and ease digestion, which makes it excellent in massage oil. Lavender is also anti-septic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and great for deterring insects. It can be used in cooking (where is can help to lower blood sugar), but does have a strong camphor taste, so use with caution. We use Lavender in: Strengthen and Soothe smoothie mix, Rooibos, Lavender and Lemongrass Soap, Baby body rub, Lavender and Rooibos Deodorant balm

  • Sand olive (Dodonaea Angustifolia)

    The graceful Sand Olive, otherwise known as Koorsbos (Fever Bush) makes frequent appearance in the Cederberg landscape. So slender and apparently delicate, yet beautifully adapted to survive. When water is scarce, it is not uncommon to see a branching pattern where one part of the tree dies off, leaving the rest with more water and nutrient to thrive. This act of self-sacrifice seems to do no harm to the tree. This delicate balance of holding on versus letting go is very pertinent to the many uses of Sand Olive. It is one of the most widely known and commonly used and trusted tonic plants. Its action is really gentle, yet extremely effective for many conditions, most importantly those connected with the lungs, the head and flu, as well as pains of all kinds. It is a potent anti-bacterial and anti-viral. It can be used to steam open clogged pores. It is being used to combat breast cancer. It is anti-inflammatory and analgesic, yet completely benign: a plant you can use daily as an immune tonic. It is also delicious – an interesting flavour addition to all manner of sweet and savoury foods. We use Sand Olive in: Sand Olive botanical tonic, Sand Olive tincture, Forgiveness moisturiser, Chai spice natural glycerine soap, Anti-fungal balm

  • African wormwood (Artemisia afra)

    In this time when we are all grappling to ascertain the truth, it is interesting that a herbal remedy involving African wormwood has emerged as a potential remedy for Covid-19. Of course, Artemisia afra has been in traditional use as an anti-viral throughout many African cultures for a very long time. But there is more to this story than the obvious. Wildeals is strongly anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-parasitic and anti-malarial, but its most important compound, Thujone, is toxic and psychoactive at chronic doses. A tea, syrup or infusion made from leaves and soft stems can be used to treat a fever, colds, headaches, intestinal worms and gastritis. It also lowers blood pressure. Be aware that the tea is very bitter, and if used to excess can cause hallucinations. It is, however, very potent in killing the most stubborn of infections, even though it is quite difficult to take. Mixing Artemisia in a broth with Stinging nettle (Urtica urens) is a very effective way to support the body while it processes the medicine. Even better, try using both herbs in a broth with moringa, kale and/or spinach. An infusion of leaves into an ointment or balm makes a great anti-bacterial – use for open wounds, sores, boils that won’t heal, or spider/tick bites. We use Artemisia in our: Anti-bacterial balm

  • Protea Ntida

    Waboom, the tree protea, is the emperor of local fynbos species. It has evolved to survive the Cederberg’s fire-based ecology with elegant self-sufficiency, particularly through its thick, ever-renewing layers of bark, and its ability to resprout from underground when the whole plant has been razed by fire. The name, Ntida, meaning clear or shining, is well deserved – Waboom truly does shine, from the silver-grey bark, to the translucent crimson of its young leaves, which later give way to bright aquamarine. Clarity, too, is a property that the plant can confer to the human body, through the astringent properties of bark tannins. The tannins, when ingested as an infusion, can cause membranes and body tissues to constrict, whilst gathering up and eliminating unwanted toxins and compounds - even metals - from the body. In days gone by, Waboom bark was used as an anti-diarrhoeal for this reason. Waboom's proteoid roots grow as hairy clusters whose maximised surface area allows for better access to nutrition from the soil, and also for better contribution of sugars to the soil, and potentially for better sub-surface communication with surrounding species. We do not make use of Waboom in our products, but it cannot be omitted from a summary list of the most important, ancient medicinal species.

  • Stinkkruid (Oncosiphon grandiflorum)

    In late summer, the fields of the Agter-Pakhuis, particularly where there is disturbed land, are golden yellow, awash with endless swathes of small yellow buttons. This is the time of Stinkkruid. The plant starts to flourish in early winter, with abundant growth of blueish green leaves. This is a good time for picking the Stinkkruid, for use in combating infections of all kinds. Its active compounds have been proved to be antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anticancer, and protective for the nerves and the heart. Make a leaf infusion and drink as a tea, or try creating a tincture. Once the plant starts to flower – and particularly when the yellow buttons have matured to deep gold – you want to be more careful. It is then that the plant becomes aggressive, an irritant for the nasal and stomach mucusa which also competes to detriment of less robust species in its space – eventually taking over so that all else dies. We use Stinkkruid in: Anti-Acne Topical Tincture

  • Inflammation Bush (Pteronia Divaricata)

    Fever bush is one of our most potent medicinal plants, and should only be harvested in the wetter months, before flowering time. It is a powerhouse of anti-inflammatory and sedative terpenes, which can calm both body and mind whilst fighting infections. The plant's coastal cousin, Pteronia Onobromoides, was one of the most important aromatics used by the San, Khoi and Nama people. Inflammasiebos is good for bringing down a fever, or treating a cold or flu. It is also wonderful for pain and inflammation, particularly back pain and rheumatic conditions. It can be consumed as a tea or applied as a poultice or in a massage oil. We use inflammation bush in: Anti-Inflammatory balm, Restoration massage oil, Sports Balm

  • 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?

  • Rooibos (Aspalathus Linearis)

    Rooibos is one of South Africa’s best-researched plants, having been the subject of many academic studies across the world. It is a powerful anti-oxidant, with free radical scavengers that help reduce inflammation and related diseases, as well as spasms and colic. It does so by forming a bond that neutralises destructive free radicals. Rooibos has also been found to be a good support for the health of the circulatory system, helping to strengthen the blood vessels, reduce blood pressure and lower heart disease risk. Inside and out, rooibos combats stress and helps prevent degeneration. It supports the connective tissue in the body, both at a superficial and organ level, and thus slows down ageing. It is really easy to as a tea or on the skin (as a poultice, in the form of wet tea bags, or in an ointment), to treat rashes, burns, insect bites, aching teeth and bleeding gums. It also makes a wonderful base for any moisturiser, gradually helping to clear the skin, slow down ageing and even provide a measure of UV protection. We use rooibos in many of our products, including: Rooibos wound healing balm, Rooibos anti-inflammatory balm, Rooibos and buchu moisture balm, Rooibos and lemongrass bug bite balm, Sports balm, Soothing Moisturiser, Balancing moisturiser, Energising moisturiser, Uplifting moisturiser, Calming moisturiser, Sun protection cream, Rooibos, lemongrass and lavender farmhouse soap, Rooibos and lemongrass coconut and clay soap, Rooibos and buchu coconut and clay soap, Rooibos chai spice soap, Rooibos and rose geranium coconut and clay soap, Rooibos and lemongrass herbal salt, Rooibos and wild olive herbal salt, Rooibos and lemongrass bath salt, Rooibos and rose...

  • Cannabis (Cannabis sativa)

    While some authors think that Cannabis is indigenous to South Africa, most believe it was introduced many centuries ago, by traders from the East, and has been used not only for recreational smoking, but also as an aid for divination and an important medicine for malaria, dysentery and snakebites. It would certainly be remiss to exclude the plant from any discussion of plants in common use in the Cederberg, where it is commonly cultivated and used, although largely recreationally. The medicinal use of cannabis is becoming increasingly popular as both anecdotal evidence and scientific studies mount for a surprising number of benefits. Cannabis is largely used for relief from pain, nausea, seizures, anxiety, depression chemotherapy-induced nausea, and for its substantial anti-inflammatory benefits. It is also used in the treatment of glaucoma and degenerative nerve conditions. However, cannabis is also dependence forming and dualistic in its nature, being able to create both mindfulness and mindlessless, connection and paranoid disassociation, stimulation and sedation. If the intent is to use cannabis for health benefits, it should not really be burned or smoked; a practice which only treats symptoms. Ingestion of raw cannabis, however, in seeds, leaves and flowers can stimulate the body’s endocannabinoids and has an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effect, not mention possessing many valuable nutrients for the body. Topical application of cannabis in the form or balms and oils is also fantastic for pain and even skin cancer. We use cannabis in: Climbers’ Balm, Anti-Inflammatory Balm, Restoration Massage oil, Taaibos, Lavender and Cannabis Smoothie mix, Calming...

  • Cape Snowbush (Eriocephalus africanus)

    The energy and smell of Cederberg fynbos: an unmistakeable composite of various aromatic plants, but certainly one of the most important of these is Cape Snowbush. This sprawling shrub with its slightly fleshy, silvery needles can be found wherever you go. Crush the leaves and you will discover a characteristic camphor smell. It is a delicious herb in cooking – use as you would Rosemary or Thyme. Cape snowbush was traditionally used to treat stomach ache, water retention and for heart and chest complaints. The essential oil is uplifting and calming. It is a decongestant, is anti-spasmodic and helps to to expel gas and induce sweat. The oil, or a leaf infusion makes a great anti-inflammatory rub and is also good for hair (making it grow and restoring shine). Cape Snowbush is loaded with terpenes and camphor-like compounds that can interact with the intelligence of the cellular membrane, gently redefinifing the boundaries in order to cleanse the body, drive out pathogens, heal physical pain and uplift the mood. And in the Agter Pakhuis, these compounds fill the very air we breathe. We use Cape Snowbush in: Anti-inflammatory balm, Herbal salt

  • Kraalbos (Galenia africana)

    Kraalbos is a pioneer plant that grows prolifically on dry and disturbed land. In clinical studies, Galenia has been found to be a potent killer of fungal growths and other parasites. It is a favourite herb for blood cleansing – the leafy tips are made into tea, in order to help treat tuberculosis, coughs, bronchitis and parasites. It is also used topically to treat fungal infections of the skin – traditionally in the form of a wash, but it also works very well in an ointment or a soap. The leaves can also be chewed for toothache. Recent studies suggest that Kraalbos may also be helpful in combating neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. We use Kraalbos in: Anti-Fungal Balm

  • 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

  • African blue sage (Salvia africana)

    Salvia Africana, the African Blue Sage, belongs to a family of some 1000 species, which have been used, since ancient times, from China to Rome, to heal just about every ailment. The Blue Sage is an indigenous species which grows in the Cederberg wilderness. Salvia talks is profoundly wise ways that integrating body and mind, being full of compounds that modulate information at the boundary of the cell whilst also being filled with very subtly psychoactive chemicals which can bring the mind closer to an experience of genuine truth. Blue Sage can be ingested as a food, a herb, a tea, on the skin, or through the air, with a multitude of uses in cooking, healing and meditation. All the salvias have potent medicinal properties, but Salvia Africana is specifically antimicrobial, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-malarial and anti-tuberculosis. It has been found to inhibit cancer cells. It is also potentially anti-allergenic, and beneficial for the heart. It has also been found to work synergistically with Wild Dagga, for anti-viral effect. We use Salvia Africana in: Wild dagga and Sage Tincture

  • Imphepho (Helichrysum odoratissum)

    This unassuming little plant, with its silver-grey stalk and cheerful golden flower emerges in early spring and remains with us well into the heat of summer. It is so abundant that one would never guess what a precious and important medicinal plant it really is. Helichrysum is a genus of some 245 species, all of which are known as imphepo. Traditionally it is used as a sacred incense, but also burned as a fumigant. When directly inhaled, it is very relaxing, and euphoric in large amounts. Because of the plants efficacy in warding off parasites, it is also popularly used in bedding, earning the other name, “kooigoed”. Helichrysum odoratissum is rich in an essential oil whose two most important compounds are a-pinene and humulene. Both of these compounds have been intensively studied and found to be analgesic (pain-relieving), anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and antibacterial. Pinene can help open the air passages, whilst improving memory and aiding lucid dreaming. It can be used as a tea for insomnia, fever, tension, inflammatory conditions (e.g. backache, sore muscles or even menstrual cramps), heart and lung conditions, kidney complaints and compromised immunity. Externally, it can be applied as a poultice or in an ointment for open wounds, sepsis, rashes, reduction of scarring and to encourage cellular regeneration in broken bones. It also helps to relieve pain.

  • Tortoiseberry (Muraltia spinosa)

    Tortoiseberry bushes are abundant in the fynbos and sandveld areas. Particularly in Winter and Spring, one need only look for their show of flowers, like a purple snow across the shrubby areas. Tortoise Berries are arguably the best known of all the bush snacks in the Cederberg region. They have a delicious bittersweet taste, which is somehow more refreshing than a conventional sweet berry – even a handful can give one the lift you need on an energetic hike. The leaves, on the other hand, are said to have sedative, even narcotic properties, and are traditionally consumed fermented as a tea to treat nervous disorders. We use Tortoise Berries in: Tortoise berry infused vinegar, Tortoise berry infused jams and relishes.

  • Wild olive (Olea europaea sbsp africana)

    The wild olive tree is widespread throughout the Cederberg. The trees are amongst the tallest indigenous species. They have a steadfast and deeply reassuring energy which is underpinned in quite a fascinating way, by the medicinal characteristics of the compounds in the leaves. Wild olive leaves have great medicinal benefit: they are protective (against infection, as well as stress and oxidative damage), and also beneficial for the circulatory system – heart, kidneys, blood pressure and sugar. The two primary compounds, Oleuropein and Oleacein, have been found to work together to ensure heart health, lowering blood pressure and preventing the constriction of blood vessels. They have an anti-spasmodic effect and help to lower blood pressure. Ursolic acid and oleanolic acid, on the other, have been found to help tone the heart and reduce irregular heartbeat. Wild olive leaf is also an important anti-oxidant. We use Wild olive leaves, in: UV Protective Moisturiser, Rooibos and wild olive salt, Rooibos and wild olive tincture

  • Pepperbark (Warburgia salutaris)

    This tree is definitely not indigenous to the hot, dry Cederberg, but it is a very important national indigenous treasure, and we have one growing in our garden for its essential medicinal value. It is endangered in the wild due to over-harvesting for medicine. The bark was traditionally used, but the strong, peppery leaves are just as potent. It is an anti-parasitic and helpful for treating candida (one eats the leaves). Often, it traditionally snuffed for colds and for malaria. There are also important magical uses of the plant relating to the eradication of parasitic energies. We use Pepperbark in: Anti-fungal balm

  • Ramnas (Raphanus raphanistrum)

    While ramnas is not indigenous to South Africa, it is certainly a naturalised wild plant that has historically been eaten by the local people. As a pioneer plant, it is more often found on land that has been disturbed by farming activity. Visually (and in taste), ramnas is often confused with Dijon Mustard (Brassica juncea) or thought to be a wild form of rocket lettuce. The leaves have similar deep lobes and hot, peppery taste, but tend to be quite rough (even hairy) underneath, becoming rather tough as they age. They work very well cut up small in a salad, or cooked as an ingredient in soup. Today, in commercial monocrop agriculture, wild radish is known as one of the most stubborn, widespread and damaging weeds. The cuticle thickness on the upper side of the leaf is credited with its extraordinary resistance to herbicide penetration. But there is a different way of seeing: ramnas is true pioneer plant, coming to heal where the soil or the water has been harmed, so abundantly that it could be a true famine food. We don't use ramnas in products, but certainly do in cooking!

  • Sausage fruit (Kigelia africana)

    Again, not indigenous to the Cederberg, but Kigelia trees are a fairly popular garden subject, and there are a number of large, established trees around. We have them growing in our garden for the medicinal value. The Sausage Fruit tree is quite unforgettable, having huge red flowers that look like lips, and enormous fruit that grow up to a metre in size! Even though the green fruit is toxic to eat, the roasted fruit is traditionally taken for a variety of illnesses including epilepsy, gynaecological complaints, headache, dysentery, malaria and measles. It is also used extensively to repair damaged skin and sores, including skin cancer and psoriasis. We use Kigelia in our Uplifting Moisturiser and Rejuvenation Balm.