Umhlonyane / Lengana
Artemisia: Miracle Plant!
Artemisia is a plant compound that consists of many hidden benefits. Used in traditional medicine for centuries this soft aromatic shrub is one of the most popular and commonly used medicinal plants in Southern Africa with a wide distribution from the Cederberg Mountains in the Cape, northwards to tropical East Africa and stretching as far north as Ethiopia.
Artemisia is one of the oldest and best-known medicinal plants - Easy to grow, and traditionally an essential part of the herb garden, and is still used effectively today in South Africa by people of all cultures.
World-wide there are around 400 species of Artemisia which belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is believed to originate from Asia, although nowadays it can be found in several areas around the globe - common names include mugwort, wormwood and sagebush.
The Artemisia species are known for the powerful chemical constituents in their essential oils and widely used around the world with various therapeutic applications. Many different preparations of this plant are employed to treat symptoms and ailments – syrups for bronchial troubles, infusions or decoctions are applied as lotions, infusion of leaves or roots can be used as an inhaling vapour or as a poultice, fresh tips inserted into the nose for colds, headaches and into hollow teeth to treat toothache.
Artemisia holds great potential for human health and has been described as a ‘condiment with supposed magical properties’. The list of uses covers a wide range of ailments from coughs, colds, fever, loss of appetite, colic, headache, indigestion, asthma, earache, gout and intestinal worms. Indications are that Artemisia possesses antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities.
Even though this plant has only gained recognition in the last few decades, it has long been used for treatment or as preventative measures and has amazing benefits including healing, calming and soothing properties – a miracle plant indeed if not a flagship for African medicinal plants.
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