Sceletium tortuosum (kanna)
IntroductionSceletium tortuosum also known as Kanna, Channa or Kougoed. The genus Mesembryanthemum is a popular groundcover, a section of the genus designated as Sceletium serves as a narcotic in South Africa. For hundreds of years the Hottentots used Sceletium tortuosum as a psychedelic called Kanna or Channa (not Cannabis). The earliest written records of the use of Sceletium date back to 1662 and 1685.
The Dutch during the arrival in Africa called it "Kougoed" (kauwgoed) which literally means,"chew(able) things/goodies" or"something to chew". The traditionally prepared dried plant material is chewed, smoked, or use as a snuff. Sceletium is used by rural folk and farmers as a sedative in the form of a tea, decoction or a tincture.
Sceletium tortuosum has been used by hunter-gatherers and shepherds as a mood-enhancing substance for millennia, and is far more effective and rapidly acting than the well-known European plant Hypericum (St John's Wort).
Effects of Sceletium tortuosumThe active constituents of Sceletium tortuosum are alkaloids, including mesembrine, mesembrenone, mesembremol and tortuosamine. The alkaloids ; mesembrine and mesembrenone were isolated in the beginning of 1914 by Zwicky. Lewin, in his 1934 book Phantastica, classifies this plant among the hypnotica: 20 mg is sufficient to produce a substantial effect. 50 mg mixed with chewing gum or placed under the tongue produces a more subtle effect.
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