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Medicinal Plants

What does Adaptogen mean?

Adaptogens are safe, gentle herbs that increase the body’s natural ability to cope with the effects of stress. In doing so, they help the body to conserve energy. This action allows the body to maintain homeostasis, negating the effects of stress on the body. In our modern world we are exposed to many forms of stress. Using adaptogens enables the body as a whole to function optimally.

Their overall desired effect is enhanced by their specific combinations in our PlantCeuticals formulas.

What is a tonic?

Tonics are defined similarly in most herbal systems. Tonics can be nourishing and building or can help improve organ function through enhancing the cleansing and elimination processes in the tissues. Overall, tonics tone tissues and help them to function optimally, in turn enhancing tone and function of associated organs and body systems. Certain herbs have a tonic role to play within a particular body system, tissue or organ.

Whole plant herbal medicines

Herbs are made up of a synergistic blend of active constituents. There are herbs with complex actions within the body. Some of the adaptogens also have tonic actions and other noted herbal actions within the body. Herbs are combined in our PlantCeuticals elixirs so as to enhance the overall required action. Humankind and plant medicines have evolved together – much as the body digests food to absorb the vital nutrients, so too plant medicines are able to elicit their healing actions within the human body via complex healing interactions within the body systems.

The closer the plant medicine is to the plant constituent matrix, the more potential there is for the plant medicine to effectively interact with the human body systems. Herbal medicine is by design a system that enhances the body’s innate ability to heal, while assisting in an active way with the process. An antimicrobial herb will actively interfere with pathogenic organisms while encouraging the immune system to set to work against the pathogen.

The whole is more than the sum of its parts. PlantCeuticals produces whole plant herbal medicines.

Many herbal actions are state specific. Ashwagandha is noted for both its energy enhancing and relaxing actions. When the body is in need of enhanced energy during the working day, the action is energy enhancing. When the body is in need of rest at the end of the day, the action is relaxing.

African potato

Hypoxis colchicifolia, ilabatheka (Zulu)

Corms of this locally occurring herb are used traditionally to alleviate many illnesses both acute and chronic affecting the immune system, including the common cold, influenza, cystitis, arthritis, various tumours, prostate cancer and HIV/AIDS. It is applied topically to promote wound healing and used internally to treat acne. Locally, iLabatheka is used interchangeably with Hypoxis hemerocallidea. Its use for more than 30 days consecutively is not recommended. After a month’s treatment, a break of two weeks is recommended.

African wormwood

Artemisia afra, umhlonyane (Zulu, Xhosa), lengana (Sotho, Tswana)

This wonder herb occurs naturally in many parts of Africa and is one of the most widely used traditional medicines on the continent. This aromatic bitter herb is an effective natural dewormer and antiparasitic herbal remedy.
Its many uses include immune system boosting properties, helping the body in its defence against infections. These uses are supported by centuries of safe use for treating various infections, from the common cold to other viral infections, and preventing and treating malaria.


Withania somnifera

This world-renowned tonic adaptogenic herb occurs naturally in southern Africa where it is locally renowned for its treatment of various infectious and inflammatory diseases.

Its tonic action assists with boosting energy reserves and promotes overall health, while its adaptogenic action increases the ability of the body to cope with stress. Ashwagandha is a plant with a wealth of healing actions based on its diverse herbal constituents, including alkaloids, steroidal compounds and certain minerals. As such, it enhances the body’s ability to prevent the onset of many infections and modern diseases. Ashwagandha assists with treatment of many chronic diseases, including various inflammatory diseases and disorders of the nervous system resulting in lack of sleep, affected concentration, general anxiety and many other symptoms related to the effects of prolonged stress.

It is widely supportive of both male and female sexual health and is a renowned longevity herb.

Its long history of use throughout the world is being supported by ongoing clinical use and research.


Allium sativum

The wonders of garlic never cease to amaze as this strong, pungent herb has an extensive list of reputable actions. Its main mode of action is to help the body combat infections. It has an affinity for the respiratory system, where it helps the body respond to infections and is an expectorant, helping to rid the lungs of congested phlegm. This wonder herb works throughout the body as an antimicrobial. Garlic assists with maintaining cardiovascular health by preventing high cholesterol levels and the damage to blood vessels caused by the accumulation of bad cholesterols.

Gotu kola

Centella asiatica

Gotu kola grows in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. Gotu kola has been used medicinally throughout many parts of the world and holds a place in modern clinical herbal medicine.

One of its common names in India, brahmi, refers to its sattvic qualities as it enhances the pure essence of consciousness. It is an adaptogenic herb with neuroprotective properties that aid in prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. Gotu kola helps prevent problems with concentration, memory loss and associated central nervous system disorders. It works on a cellular level, and prevents and repairs damage caused by various oxidative and toxic stresses on brain cells and tissues. Its action within the nervous system extends to its ability to lift the mood and calm the mind.

It is also renowned as a connective tissue healer, aiding in maintaining healthy cellular regeneration of skin tissue in wound healing as well as various skin disorders and inflammatory diseases. Gotu kola has a reputation for improving venous circulation.

It is known to be an anti-microbial herb and thus supports defence activities against harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi within the body.

Holy basil

Ocimum tenuiflorum, tulsi

This aromatic herb is held in highest esteem in Ayurvedic medicine. It is an adaptogenic herb with a unique combination of herbal actions. Holy basil is revered as a tonic and invigorating herb. Its actions within the body also include neuroprotective, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antidiabetic properties. These actions are of benefit in our modern society where stress and environmental toxins are key factors in the cause of disease. Holy basil has a beneficial action on digestive processes. Its ability to reduce the effects of stress renders it beneficial in reducing anxiety and depression. The benefits of holy basil are far-reaching and continue to be validated by modern use and research.

Lemon balm

Melissa officinalis

Lemon balm is a particularly beneficial tonic herb for the nervous system with a long tradition of use to raise the spirits and comfort the heart. Modern use and research has validated its antiviral action in particular against herpes simplex virus. Outbreaks of cold sores are associated with the effects of stress. Lemon balm is a relaxing tonic for anxiety, mild depression, restlessness and irritability. It reduces feelings of nervousness and panic. Its antispasmodic action is helpful in relieving digestive and menstrual cramps.


Artemisia vulgaris

This gentle bitter tonic herb has a reputation for enhancing digestion and, like many Artemisias, it is a natural dewormer and antiparasitic herb. Mugwort and other Artemisias are named after Artemis, the Greek moon goddess. Artemis was regarded as the patron and protector of women to influence their fertility, to regulate their menstrual cycles and to protect them during childbirth. Its use over thousands of years has been as a result of its value as a female remedy par excellence. Its applications include its use for balancing menstrual disorders. Mugwort is useful for treating irregular, heavy, painful periods and for menopausal symptoms. It regulates the cycles and is associated with general health and well-being.


Origanum vulgare

Oregano is a well-loved and respected culinary herb with noted herbal actions.
It contains a wealth of phenolic acids. Their specific combination lends to this plant’s noted antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Along with its overall beneficial action on the digestive system as a whole, oregano is a useful and reliable digestive aromatic herb.

Raspberry leaf

Rubus ideaus

Raspberry is a plant rich in polyphenolic compounds, including flavonoids and tannins that have a specific role to play within the uterus. Raspberry leaf has a natural affinity for the female reproductive system. The synergy of its chemical constituents works to tone and enhance optimal functioning of the uterus. This mainly astringent herb has a long history of use as an aid to women for menstrual well-being and as a renowned uterine tonic. Its actions aid in regulating flow during menstruation and easing pain associated with menstruation.


Lessertia frutescens, cancer bush, motlpelo (Sotho), insiswa or unwele (Zulu)

Sutherlandia is considered to be southern Africa’s best adaptogenic plant and occurs naturally in certain parts of the region. It is a bitter digestive herb that has been used for centuries to treat various infections, digestive disorders and internal cancers. Notably, it has a reputation for calming the nervous system and treating emotional shock and distress. Its traditional names refer to this calming action. This nervous system action is beneficial for treating the effects of stress, anxiety and mild depression.
Current research has verified its efficacy. It has use in treating Type 2 diabetes and other digestive system diseases, restoring optimal digestive function. It assists the immune function in its ability to defend the body against various infections, both acute and chronic. It is used extensively as a support for HIV/AIDs patients.