`Like the spirits, the plant does not die. It lives forever. It has a fellowship with the spirits.' – Berglund.
Impepho, Helichrysum species, is perhaps the most widely used of all wild plants.
The sweetly scented stems are burnt as incense to draw the ancestors close, and to give clarity to diviners.
Ethno-botanical uses :
The smoke is inhaled by traditional healers (sangomas) to induce a trance state.
Smoke from burning leaves is relaxing and is also inhaled for pain relief.
Helichrysum, known as `imphepho', is burned as a ritual incense with the purpose of invoking the ancestors.
The Sutos smoke the leaf of H. dregeanum for head colds, and the leaf of H. athrixiifolium for chest complaints.
The people from the Bikita district of Zimbabwe drink the ash of a Helichrysum sp. mixed with beer, as a cure for epilepsy.
The Sutos make a steam bath by pouring an infusion on hot stones, which is inhaled for bad dreams and fever.
Suto men drink a decoction of the root of H. platypterum to renew their virility.
Several Helichrysum's are used as teas.
The Khoi used it as a calming tea.
Widely burned and inhaled in the Transkei as a protective cleanser.
Shangaan traditional doctors reportedly use the leaf of the Helichrysum sp. to boost woman's libido.
Pharmacological effects :
Pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory and anti-infective activity have been scientifically proven.
Active ingredients :
Helichrysum species contain flavonoids, acylated phloroglucinols and sesquiterpenoids.
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