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If there is one herb for stress, and anxiety that puts all others to shame, this is the one. Not even Sceletium tortuosum has the anti-stress, anti-anxiety properties and is as fast acting as the Psoralea pinnata.

We fail to recognize the Khoisan’s contribution to herbal medicine, specifically the introduction of famous herbs such as the devil’s claw, sutherlandia and Sceletium. Psoralea pinnata forms an integral part of the Khoisan’s medicinal herbal chest and it deserves the same respect and attention as its more famous counterparts. Importantly, Psoralea pinnata is often chosen over Sceletium, especially for younger patients. It is particularly chosen for students undergoing stressful times.

Psoralea pinnata is given to students of herbal medicine in the Cape. Explanation: for “only when these students are free of emotional issues, can they focus, learn and enter our world without preconceived ideas”.


Psoralea pinnata is a fairly widespread species growing from the Cape Peninsula eastwards and northwards through to KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland and Mphumalanga.

Psoralea pinnata is one of the earliest South African plants to have been cultivated in Europe. In 1690 it was growing in England from seeds collected in the Cape.

Medicinal uses:

Unrecorded by the western world for its medicinal value, Psoralea pinnata is far more effective than Sceletium tortuosum and commonly used for emotional issues including stress, fear, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. Like the Xhosa and Zulu, the Khoisan use it as a supplement for cancer, diabetes and herpes patients.

How it works:

The Zulu name umhlonitshwa means to respect. Psoralea pinnata is an herb that helps to be humble and give up criticism and cynicism.

Psoralea pinnata is so comfortable, “easy”, that most users believe that the herb has no effect on themselves. However, the people around the user will notice a behavioural change almost immediately. This is why this herb is so wonderful and recommended for younger users. It takes away emotional issues while allowing for full mental capabilities without side effects.

Psoralea pinnata works on the emotional kevel rather than the physical. This is why it helps with diabetes, especially in cases where diabetes is aggravated by emotional issues and stress. Traditionally, it is believed that it helps the pancreas in cases where it has been affected by emotional trauma.

Since stress and other emotional issues often trigger herpes symptoms, Psoralea pinnata helps alleviate the symptoms of herpes. Traditionally it is not used as a medicine for herpes but as a supplement. Psoralea pinnata helps cancer patients cope with the traumatic experience caused by cancer.

Pharmacological effects and active ingredients:

To the best of our knowledge, there are no formal studies and information on this plant.


Side effects:

We recommend caution when taking Psoralea pinnata with pharmaceutical drugs.

Interesting story:

While on a visit to her medical doctor, a cancer patient who was taking Psoralea pinnata noticed that her son was clearly not coping with the news and become extremely stressed and agitated. Upon leaving the doctor’s rooms, the mother gave her son some Psoralea pinnata. Within a short while, the son remarked on what a beautiful day it was and that they should go to the park and enjoy the rest of the day. The mother asked if the Psoralea was working for him. He replied, “No, I don’t feel anything”. The mother later remarked, “I know that the Psoralea works.  Not only did it change my son’s emotional and mental state within a short period of time, but also allowed him to focus and discuss freely my treatment options without becoming upset or stressed. I am really impressed”.



Common names: fonteinbos, bloukeur, penwortel (Afr.), fountain bush (Eng), umHlonishwa (Zulu).

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