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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sutherlandia frutescens or Cancer Bush

A wonderful perk of travelling is getting to try the food of different nations! I think armchair travelling is the same and I found much joy in all the comments I received about waterblommetjies, a traditional dish of the Cape! Now, from food to medicine as I introduce the amazing centuries-old cure, Sutherlandia frutescens, locally known as cancer bush.

Having heard so much about this bush and having noticed it in health tablets, I set off to !Khwa Ttu to buy the plant for my garden. I was lucky, there were saplings for sale! Not only that, but in the indigenous garden the plants were in bloom. The restaurant at !Khwa Ttu also had pots of them as flower arrangements, nicely labelled with info about the plant.

According to the booklet "Gathering Fynbos" written by San experts 2 handfuls of dried leaves and young stems should be added to cold water and boiled for half an hour. One should drink a small glassful once a day. It is claimed to be a great immune booster and beneficial as preventative or cure for pancreatic cancer, aids, kidney disease, diabetes 2, arthritus, fever, gout , urinary tract infection and for treating the mother after delivery. Remember, the San and Khoikoi people for centuries survived without Western medicine!

I needed some good neutral opinion and was pleased to find a very informative website official-looking and honest and never trying to over- glorify the plant. I took this paragraph from their site.

Quality-of-Life Tonic

There is preliminary clinical evidence that Sutherlandia has a direct anticancer effect in some cancers, and also acts as an immune stimulant, but Sutherlandia should not be recommended as a so-called “universal cancer cure”, but rather as a quality-of-life tonic.

  • Mood
    Sutherlandia decreases anxiety and irritability and it elevates mood.
  • Appetite and weight
    It is an established fact that up to a third of cancer patients succumb to the wasting syndrome, rather than the actual tumor mass. Appropriate doses of select chemotypes and varieties of Sutherlandia dramatically improves appetite, and weight-gain can be expected in wasted patients. The first 5 kg gain is common after six weeks of treatment. In patients who are not wasted, weight-gain is not usual.
  • Energy levels and exercise tolerance
    Sutherlandia typically improves the energy levels and exercise tolerance of patients, and gives an enhanced sense of well-being.
The website has all the newspaper and medical reports one can wish for, for those interested in more info about Sutherlandia. If you come across it in health tablets in the States or UK or anywhere, I would love to know! I hope my little plant will thrive so that I can brew some elixir!

The painting was done in watercolours on 300gms watercolour paper. Those rhythmic little stems and the large pea-like red flowers were a tempting subject, tempting enough to make me reach my watercolour paints.


  1. Gorgeous painting, Marie, and now I want a couple of those plants!

  2. So informative Marie. I believe a lot in the use of natural substances for curing or alleviating medical issues. Have never tried Sutherlandia but will definitely look into it. Great post and painting!

  3. Thank you,so much conservative bohemian! (S....., not sure whether you are staying incognito?) Apparently tablets are distributed worldwide from the Netherlands. Read and the amazing medical research pieces.

    Thank you Giselle. I think the world is moving in that direction. Nature knows best!

  4. Really wonderful info Marie and just love your sketch of the plant! I've never seen it, I presume it just grows in your area? Am going to your website link to have a look. Have a nice week ahead of you!

  5. Haven't managed to grow it, but I see red flowers flashing at the side of the road, as we drive.

  6. what a lovely painting Marie and what an interesting and beautiful plant.

  7. Thank you Maree, yes we are provinces apart! This plant, as the name suggests is prolific in Sutherland area.

    Diana, I panic a tiny bit about my plant, it needs rocky ground and I have it in the pots with all my veggies!

    Mary, fruit colors were so bright to attract man to things that were good for him....maybe this plant was so brightly colored for the same reason! Thanks for visiting!

  8. I could enjoy your beautiful work along with educating myself, what more I could have for my morning today!

  9. padmaja, that is so sweet of you! Thank you!

  10. Wonderful painting, Marie!

    Loved reading your commentary. I am a fan of the many herbal wonders out there. Thanks for introducing me to another one! This seems to be from God's medicine cabinet.

  11. Another great painting and information......thank you Marie. I would love to have that growing in my garden too. Will have to check if we have it here......doubt it too cold and rainy. I especially love how you captured the attitude of the red flowers.

  12. I loved reading your words, Dean! If only we can shake off our fear of trying the natural plants. I have several good eating plants around me, but needs a lot of encouragement and knowledge to use some of them!

    Cissy, I don't know whether you will find it there. Many of our lovely indigenous plants becomes aliens and invaders when they grow elsewhere!

  13. Marie, another informative post and a lovely painting. What more could we ask? The use of native plants is very interesting, and I love that you shared this information with us. Good luck in raising your "baby."

  14. Mary,thank you for your kind words! I just hope that you can find some tablets in your local Health Food store. I jubilate about my own little plant and will post news about it on my next blogpost!


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