If there is one plant every traditional healer should use as Muthi, not just in prayer, it is Imphephu !! It can be used for many ailments and is a powerful plant medicine.
I recently visited a farm in the Freestate (!) that makes essential oils. I was surprised and delighted to find that they have 3 indigenous essential oils on their shelves, Imphephu – (Helicrysum Odoratisimum – Southern Africa) (Helicrysum Italicum – Europe) Umhlonyana – Wormwood, Artemesia Afra) , and Cape Chamomile!
I thought I knew a lot about Imphephu, but I was surprised to find out that the Oil is 40 x (forty times) stronger that the Australian Tea Tree oil in antibacterial and wound healing properties !!
The oil , and the plant, when you steam with it or inhale the smoke, is used for pain, fever, depression, anxiety, burns, sunburn, hypertension, poisonous bites, flu, malaria, insomnia, headaches, herpes and various other things. It is also said to help for Tinnitus – ringing of the ears, if you rub the oil behind the ear,
You can visit the website here to order some of this miracle oil! Look under products – indigenous oils. www.higlandessentialoils.co.za
Im am posting below again some of the amazing info on this plant, by the late Tr Dr Rui Carvalho.
Common names: kooigoed, sewejaartjie (Afrikaans); everlastings (English); phefo-ea-loti, toanae-moru (Southern Sotho); imphepho (Zulu); phefu, isicwe (Xhosa).
Introduction: There are no words to fully describe the value of this African plant to mankind. Words such as phenomenal, extraordinary, outstanding and life-saver all put together still fall well short to describe its value and healing properties.
The African Helichrysum species is perhaps the most widely used medicinal plant in Southern Africa. In the eastern parts of South Africa, no other plant compares in popularity to imphepho and with good reason. The plant forms an integral part of African traditional medicine and it is used from the Cape Province northwards. Seldom is so much offered by such an easy-to-grow plant. Its uses include nutrition, medicine, insect repellent, ornamental and spiritual.
The true medicinal value of the African Helichrysum species is only now being unveiled by science. New discoveries of its extracts point to a powerful herbal medicine with antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties, a possible cure for tuberculosis and herpes amongst its other many medicinal uses.
Derivation of name and historical aspects: There are over 600 species of Helichrysum occurring worldwide, with 245 found in southern Africa. The word Helichrysum is derived from the Greek “helios” meaning sun and “chrysos” meaning gold, referring to the colour of many of the flowers of species in this genus.
Distribution: The Helichrysum species are widely distributed in Southern Africa.
Plant parts used: The roots, twigs flowers and leaves are used.
Medicinal uses: The African Helichrysum use is often linked to the distribution of this plant. Medicinally, the roots, leaves, stem and flowers are used for a variety of complaints and ailments. Depending on the species and distribution area, the uses include: angina pectoris, backache, bladder conditions, coronary thrombosis, coughs, colds, circumcision wounds, eye complaints, fever, festering sores, heart “trouble”, “heart weakness”, hyperpiesia, influenza, insect repellent, kidney diseases, painful menstruation, prevention of infection, rheumatism, urinary tract infections, virility and wound-healing.
Externally, infusions may be applied as an antiseptic wash, for rashes, marks, skin spots, fungal ailments and the whole leaf as a wound dressing.
For HIV/aids patients, imphepho tea is a must. Because of its beneficial activity on the liver and its antiviral, antibacterial, antibiotic and antifungal properties, it improves well-being, clears the skin and to a degree protects the patient.
For Europeans, the Helichrysum ranks as one of the most ancient and valuable healing plants. Helichrysum is said to be more antiinflammatory than German chamomile, have more tissue regenerating than lavender and more cicatrising (helping the formation of scar tissue) than frankincense. The oil of Helichrysum has been found to generate tissue, reduce tissue pain, help improve skin conditions, circulatory function, prevent phlebitis, help regulate cholesterol, stimulate liver cell function, reduce scarring and discoloration. It is anticoagulant, anticatarrhal, mucolytic, expectorant, and antispasmodic. It has been known to help in improving certain types of hearing loss.
Active ingredients: African Helichrysum species contain flavonoids, sesquiterpenoids and acylated phloroglucinols. Helichrysum odoratissimum is rich in an essential oil, with α-pinene and α-humulene as main compounds.
Pharmacological effects: Pain relieving, antiinfective and antiinflammatory activity has been reported for several African Helichrysum species. Proven antimicrobial activity provides scientific evidence for the traditional use in wound dressing. Strong antiviral activity has been shown in in-vitro research.