Botanical Name : Pelargonium sidoides
Species: P. sidoides
Common Names :Umckaloabo, South African Geranium,Kalwerbossie, Rabassam
Habitat : Pelargonium sidoides is native to South Africa.The plant has a wide distribution. It occurs throughout the eastern Cape, Lesotho, Free State and southern and south-western Gauteng in the Republic of South Africa. It usually grows in short grassland and sometimes with occasional shrubs and trees on stony soil varying from sand to clay-loam, shale or basalt. P. sidoides is found at altitudes ranging from near sea level to 2300m in Lesotho. It is found in areas which receive rainfall in summer (November to March) varying from 200 – 800mm per annum.
Pelargonium sidoides forms a rosette-like plant with crowded leaves. It is very similar to some forms of P. reniforme, but is easily distinguished by its blackish, rather than pink petals. The long-stalked leaves are mildly aromatic, heart-shaped and velvety. The distinctive dark, reddish-purple (almost black) flowers are present almost throughout the year, but occur mostly from late spring to summer (October – January) with a peak in midsummer (December). The genus name Pelargonium is derived from the Greek word Pelargos which means stork. This refers to the rostrum of the schizocarp (seed capsule) which resembles the bill of a stork. The species name sidoides reflects the resemblance of the foliage to that of a European plant, Sida rhombifolia.
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Pelargonium sidoides is an evergreen in cultivation, but it probably dies back in nature during droughts and in winter (May to August). The system of thickened underground root-like branches is a special adaptation which enables the plant to survive grass fires which occur almost annually over much of its range.
The plant can be planted in rockeries in full sun. It is also an excellent pot plant. It is utilized for a variety of folk-medicinal purposes resulting in the colloguial name ‘Rabassam’
Studies have suggested that extracts from the plant could be used in treating acute bronchitis, acute non-GABHS tonsillopharyngitis (sore throat) in children, and the common cold.
A 2008 systematic review of these findings by the Cochrane Collaboration concluded that extracts of the plant might be effective in treating adults for acute rhinosinusitis and the common cold in adults, but they noted that this conclusion is not certain. They also wrote that it might be effective in relieving the symptoms of acute bronchitis in adults and children, and also the symptoms of sinusitis in adults.
A 2009 systematic review concluded “There is encouraging evidence from currently available data that P. sidoides is effective compared to placebo for patients with acute bronchitis.”
It has been shown to be antimycobacterial with significant antibacterial properties against multi-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains. Gallic acid and its methyl ester present in large amounts in P. sidoides and in its active extracts, were identified as the prominent immunomodulatory principle.
The Pelargonium sidoides extract EPs 7630 is an approved drug for the treatment of acute bronchitis in Germany. Determination of virus-induced cytopathogenic effects and virus titres revealed that EPs 7630 at concentrations up to 100 g/ml interfered with replication of seasonal influenza A virus strains (H1N1, H3N2), respiratory syncytial virus, human coronavirus, parainfluenza virus, and coxsackie virus but did not affect replication of highly pathogenic avian influenza A virus (H5N1), adenovirus, or rhinovirus.
“Pelargonium sidoides extract modulates the production of secretory immunoglobulin A in saliva, both interleukin-15 and interleukin-6 in serum, and interleukin-15 in the nasal mucosa. Secretory immunoglobulin A levels were increased, while levels of IL-15 and IL-6 were decreased. Based on this evidence, we suggest that this herbal medicine can exert a strong modulating influence on the immune response associated with the upper airway mucosa.”
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 200 patients concluded “EPs 7630 was shown to be efficacious and safe in the treatment of acute bronchitis in children and adolescents outside the strict indication for antibiotics with patients treated with EPs 7630 perceiving a more favorable course of the disease and a good tolerability as compared with placebo.
Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.