Devil's claw botanical name, Harpagophytum, means “hook plant” in Greek. This plant, which is native to Africa, gets its name from the appearance of its fruit, which is covered with hooks meant to attach onto animals in order to spread the seeds. The roots and tubers of the plant are used to make medicine. Devil's claw is used for “hardening of the arteries” arthritis, gout, muscle pain, back pain, tendonitis, chest pain, gastrointestinal upset or heart burn, fever, and migraine headache. It is also used for difficulties in childbirth, menstrual problems, allergic reactions, loss of appetite, and kidney and bladder disease.
Honeybush is a shrub with woody stems that produces trifoliate leaves and bright yellow flowers. Settlers to South Africa have been interested in the medicinal benefits of honeybush tea for hundreds of years, although use of honeybush probably originated with the indigenous Khoisan people. Fermented leaves and stems of the honeybush shrub are used to brew honeybush tea.
Rooibos tea (pronounced ROY-boss) is less well known than its green, black and oolong alternatives, but it has excellent health benefits and a delicate flavor that is sweet and aromatic. Rooibos tea contains antioxidants, enzymes, and chemical compounds that help skin look youthful, reduce inflammation that causes pain, and prevent serious illness. Rooibos tea, also known as red tea, is unique in that it is grown mainly on the African continent and contains polyphenols such as aspalathin that are not found in any other foods. Drinking a cup of rooibos tea every day can help you stay healthy.
Bulbine natalensis is a succulent plant that grows in parts of South Africa. The root, leaf, and stem are used as medicine. Bulbine natalensis stem is taken by mouth to boost testosterone, increase muscle mass, to increase sexual stamina, as an aphrodisiac, and to improve fertility. The root is taken by mouth for vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, diabetes, and arthritis. Bulbine leaf sap is applied to the skin for burns, rashes, itching, ringworm, cracked lips, and other skin wounds.
The leaf is used to make medicine. Buchu is used to disinfect the urinary tract during infections of the bladder, urethra, prostate, or kidney. It is also used to treat sexually transmitted diseases. In manufacturing, the oil from Buchu is used to give a fruit flavor (often black currant) to foods.
Hoodia gordonii, also known as Bushman's hat or simply hoodia, is a succulent plant that is believed to aid in weight loss. Used for thousands of years by the San people of South Africa, hoodia had been touted as a safe and effective appetite suppressant since the early 2000s. Some alternative practitioners believe that it can relieve indigestion and treat mild gastrointestinal infections.