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Artemisia Afra

artemisia afra

Artemisia Afra

Artemisia afra is a common species in South Africa with a wide distribution from the Cederberg Mountains in the Cape, northwards to tropical East Africa and stretching as far north as Ethiopia. In the wild it on damp slopes, along streams and forest margins. Artemisia afra is the only indigenous species in this genus.

Artemisia Afra is commonly known as African Wormwood, in English, Wilde Als in Afrikaans, Umhlonyane in Zulu, and Lengana in Sotho and Tswana.

Artemisia afra is also used as an infusion. Usually, a quarter cup of fresh leaves is added to a cup of boiling water and the infusion is allowed to draw for 10 min. The mixture is then strained and the resulting infusion is sweetened with honey.

Many different preparations of this plant are employed to treat the various symptoms and ailments. A syrup prepared from A. afra is used for bronchial troubles, while infusions or decoctions can be applied as a lotion to bathe hemorrhoids and for earache. An infusion of leaves or roots of this species is also used for the treatment of diabetes. Respiratory infections are treated through inhaling the vapour from boiling leaves and this vapour is also used to treat menstrual chill. Fresh tips are inserted into the nose for colds and headaches and into hollow teeth to treat toothache. The poultice of the leaves can be applied to relieve neuralgia, to treat the swellings in mumps and is placed on the abdomen to treat infantile colic. It is also helpful to reduce colic by administering a tincture made of the leaves wetted by brandy.

In South Africa, preparations of A. afra are often made in combination with brandy, sugar, ginger, thyme, rosemary, mint, chamomile, Osmitopsis asteriscoides or Eucalyptus globulus. A combination of A. afra and E. globulus is employed to treat influenza, and the infusion of the leaves and stems of Lippia asperifolia and A. afra is used as a formula for fevers, influenza, measles, and as a prophylactic against lung inflammations.

If you are wanting to buy Artemisia Afra, African Wormwood, or Mhloyane visit our African Herb Store here.


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