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Africa is a continent with great geographical and biological diversity—with everything from the Sahara Desert to extensive savanna grasslands and lush rainforests in the continent’s interior. Each of these bioregions is full of unique flora and fauna—including African herbs that have been used for centuries by the local inhabitants of the land.If you have been following our blog posts, you know we’ve been exploring everything there is to know about herbal stimulants like what is kanna, akuamma, and blue lotus that we offer in our all-natural kratom alternative collection. You might also know something about where they come from and how they are used. Here, we’ll go over each of these African botanicals briefly as well as introducing you to a few additional African herbs that have interesting properties.

African Botanical #1: Kanna

Kanna or Sceletium tortuosum is a succulent that traditionally grows in the wild in South Africa. For centuries, this plant was harvested by the local Khoikhoi and San tribes every year and stored in sewn sheepskin vessels where it would ferment. Once ready, the plant was then used for relaxation, mood elevation, and to eliminate temporary discomfort.

In the twentieth century, some indigenous mothers still used these native African herbs to alleviate teething pain in babies and to help them to fall asleep. Today, this plant is cultivated in nurseries around South Africa and is available for sale along with other herbal stimulants in shops and online.

African Botanical #2: Blue Lotus

Blue lotus, or Nymphaea caerulea, is a water lily that is native to the Nile area of Egypt and is currently found across Egypt and Asia. In ancient times, the flower was used as part of religious ceremonies. Erotic paintings also suggest that the herb was used as a potent aphrodisiac and symbol of fertility in the ancient world—from the Egyptians in Africa to the Mayans of Central America.

African Botanical #3: Akuamma Seeds

In the West African nations of Cameroon, Ghana, Congo, Zaire, and Côte d’Ivoire, a small tree grows in the tropics that is known as Akuamma, vincamajordine, or Picralima nitida. The seeds of this tree’s fruit are traditionally extracted by hand and dried in the sun for use among other African herbs.

The effects of the Akuamma seed are very similar to kratom. The seeds, bark, roots, leaves, and fruit of the tree have a range of traditional applications in West African folk medicine, including the treatment of fevers, diarrhea, intestinal worms, and malaria.

Meet Some of our Other Favorite African Botanicals

A close-up of purple and yellow-colored African herb kola nuts in a heap

The herbal stimulants in our African collection are only the tip of the iceberg. Across the African continent, there are many more African herbs that are being used by locals and can offer benefits for people around the world. We’ll touch on a few of the most famous herbs here, including the kola nut, yohimbe bark, and iboga root.

Kola Nut

Have you ever wondered what the “Cola” in Coca-Cola stands for? While the “coca” refers to the coca leaf from South America, the “Cola” or “Kola” is named after the kola nut from West Africa. The kola nut (known by the botanical name Cola acuminata) is a natural stimulant that grows on the evergreen kola tree in West African rainforests and has a long history of use as a soda flavoring.

In traditional cultures that use African herbs, the nut of the kola plant is broken open and chewed or taken as a supplement. In Nigeria, the nut also has cultural significance among African botanicals and is given as a gift to guests at events such as weddings, funerals, and naming ceremonies.

Researchers who have studied the medicinal benefits of African herbs have found that the kola nut offers similar benefits to the caffeine from coffee, including a boost to metabolism, increased circulation, and a boost in energy. The nut has also been found to have e antibacterial properties

Yohimbe Bark

Found in the middle story of canopy and coastal forests in west tropical Africa, the yohimbe tree or Pausinystalia johimbe is another popular option among African herbal stimulants. This evergreen tree is prized for its bark. Benefits traditionally associated with this African herb include enhanced athletic performance, weight loss, and assistance with reversing high blood pressure and impotence. Further studies are needed to confirm these benefits.

The active compound in yohimbe bark is called yohimbine—which has been standardized by pharmaceutical companies as “yohimbine hydrochloride” and sold as a prescription drug for erectile dysfunction. However, the yohimbine compound by itself can have serious side effects at high doses, including hypotension, abdominal pain, weakness, and even respiratory paralysis.

Iboga Root

The final plant in our list of African herbs, the iboga root or Tabernanthe iboga, is a shrub that also comes from West Africa and is especially popular in Gabon and Congo. The roots of this African botanical are traditionally used as a stimulant and aphrodisiac.

The primary alkaloid in iboga is ibogaine which appears to have remarkable potential. More human studies, however, are needed in order to substantiate claims made about this African herbal stimulant.

A bag of Akuamma powder as a part of Kratora’s African herb collection. A bag of blue lotus flowers as a part of Kratora’s African herb collection. A bag of kanna powder as a part of Kratora’s African herb collection.

Find the Best Range of Ethnobotanicals at Kratora

At Kratora, we are determined to be your number one destination for Asian, South American, and African ethnobotanical herbs in the United States and beyond. While we strive to sell the purest and highest-quality African botanicals available online, our products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are sold for external use only. Shop our organic kratom, CBD oil, and African botanicals today and receive same-day shipping on orders submitted before 3 PM EST Monday through Friday and 1 PM EST on Saturdays (excluding holidays).

Please note that none of the products sold on our website are intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition.

Please note that the US FDA has not approved these products to be sold for human consumption, sold for external use only. None of the products sold on our website are intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition.

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