Herbs for Health
Aren’t these wintry days just wonderful? As an Herbologist, it is my time to harvest and prepare remedies for the winter. Unfortunately, one herb that cannot be harvested or dried is Bulbinella – Bulbine natalensis or B. frutescens, but fortunately it is always available. I think there must be very few people in KZN who do not have it growing in their garden, but there are many who still do not know what a wonderful healing plant this is.
Bulbine natelensis has wide fleshy leaves and grows in most conditions in the north eastern coastal parts of South Africa, but it is frost tender, so has to be covered during winter. B. frutescens (the one we commonly use) is very hardy and will tolerate frost and snow in winter.
Fresh leaves and roots are used in Traditional Medicine for bites and stings, eczemas and itchy skin conditions.
Root and leaf infusions are administered as emetics to those thought to be going mad. Root tubers are rubbed on children who are late in walking to strengthen the muscles. Tubers are also used as an anti-spasmodic to quell vomiting and diarrhea.
The Xhosa and the Dutch settlers in the Cape used the tubers for rheumatism and as an anti-syphilitic.
B. natalensis is included in the magical mix called “Intelezi’” made by the Zulu and Xhosa due to the sticky sap helping to bind.
Medicinal use of the leaf sap is as a soothing, treatment for light burns, wounds, rashes, itches, ringworm, cracked lips, herpes, shingles, as well as being added to commercial shampoos as a conditioner.
Skin problems and ringworm – The leaf sap (gel) or a warm poultice is applied directly to the area.
Yours in herbs,