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5 useful indigenous and medicinal plants for your garden

05 Nov 2019

Having a well-planted and established garden is often a homeowner’s pride and joy in that it increases kerb appeal, creates atmosphere and offers a place of sanctuary. The idea of a gorgeous garden is made even more exciting if the garden is filled with indigenous plants that are not only easy on the eye, but useful as well.

Aloe reduces the sensitivity of the skin, helps to soothe irritation and reduce inflammation.

Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate, shares his thoughts on the value of gardens: “Having a well-kept garden is definitely an investment in your property. This is especially true of water-wise and indigenous gardens that have a lower than conventional demand on the scarce water supply of the country. Currently, there is also a very popular move towards homeopathic remedies for common ailments. Having plants in your garden that can treat these ailments is a huge bonus to any homeowner.”

According to Greeff, these are useful plants for your garden:

1. Cape chamomile

Cape chamomile is one of the lesser-known ‘chamomile’ plants used for its oils and healing properties. This indigenous fynbos can be recognised by its fruity fragrance and deep blue colour extracted from the stems and leaves. The oil has calming properties and can be used in the treatment of anxiety, lack of sleep and headaches. Cape chamomile is anti-inflammatory and can also be used to treat muscle and joint pains associated with arthritis, neuralgia and back pain.

2. Aloe ferox

Aloe is known for being a healing succulent. Its fleshy leaves are used to treat many ailments, most commonly skin-related. Aloe ferox is known as ‘bitter aloe’ and single-stemmed plants can reach up to three metres in height. Notable benefits of aloe ferox for skin care are:

- Improves the elasticity of the skin, which helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and lines.

- Reduces excessive dryness and oiliness of the skin.

- Helps to keep skin hydrated.

- Reduces the sensitivity of the skin, helps to soothe irritation and reduce inflammation.

- Improves skin texture.

3. Buchu

Buchu (‘boegoe’ in Afrikaans) is prized for its medicinal properties worldwide. Medicinally, Buchu is used to treat kidney disorders and chest complaints. It is also an excellent anti-inflammatory and is used in topical ointments, sold as Buchu water or as a pure oil.

The plant's leaves are natural detoxifying agents and provide natural relief for menstrual cramps and bloating. Buchu oil is generally accepted as ‘safe status’ by both the United States Food and Drug Administration and the European Union. Buchu is native to the lower slopes of the mountains of the Western Cape. Buchu prefers sandy, well-drained acidic soils and can be grown from seed.

4. Pelargonium Sidoides

Commonly known as black pelargonium, ‘kalwerbossie’ and ‘rooi rabas’ (Afrikaans) this small perennial has mildly aromatic velvety leaves and almost black flowers. It has been shown to safely and effectively treat acute upper respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis, tonsillopharyngitis, sinusitis, the common cold and can also be used for the treatment of infections such as cough, fever, sore throat, as well as fatigue and weakness.

5. Sutherlandia frutescens

Possibly the most famous of South African Medicinal plants, Sutherlandia Frutescens or ‘kankerbos’ (Afrikaans) has immune boosting, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties and can be used for ailments such as arthritis, cancer and as a treatment of adult-onset, type-2 diabetes mellitus.

The entire plant can be utilised with infusions from the leaves and stems being used to treat liver, kidney and stomach ailments. Dried and powdered plant parts steeped in hot water are used to stimulate appetite as well as in the treatment of irritability, anxiety and depression.

Finally

Including these plants in your garden can have an immense impact on the lives of your family. While these plants have exceptional medicinal value, their use should always be at the advice of a trained medical professional. Always consult your doctor prior to beginning any homeopathic treatment.

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