Benefits Of Umckaloabo (Pelargonium Sidoides) For Health

Benefits Of Umckaloabo (Pelargonium Sidoides) For Health

Umckaloabo (Pelargonium Sidoides)

Umckaloabo (Pelargonium Sidoides) is known as other names: African Geranium, African Geranium, EPs 7630, Geranien, Geranio Sudafricano, Geranium, Géranium d’Afrique, Géranium d'Afrique du Sud, Géranium du Cap, Geranium Root, Ikhubalo, Icwayiba, i-Yeza lezikali, Kalwerbossi, Khoaara e Nyenyane, Pelargonien, Pelargonio Sud...

Umckaloabo (botanical name Pelargonium sidoides or P. sidoides) is a member of the geranium family and bears long, packed out, heart-shaped leaves, which are velvety, stalked and somewhat aromatic. The petals of this plant have a deep red-purple, nearly black hue and can be seen almost throughout the year. In many ways, umckaloabo are very akin to Pelargonium reniforme. However, the flowers of Pelargonium sidoides have a darker hue, nearly black, and are comparatively smaller. On the other hand, the therapeutic properties of umckaloabo seem to be of more important compared to Pelargonium reniforme. Pelargonium reniforme grows to form of a low height rosette producing greyish-green crinkled leaves having distinctly creased edges. The plants look very attractive even when they are not in bloom. As the flowers are extremely small and somewhat spidery, they do not appeal much.

Benefits Of Grains Of Umckaloabo (Pelargonium Sidoides) For Health
Umckaloabo (Pelargonium Sidoides) Picture 

Umckaloabo is found growing naturally in places where the climatic conditions range from arid to dry. Although Pelargonium sidoides possesses the aptitude to endure frosts, the plants become dormant during prolonged periods of drought or when they are grown in places having extremely cold climatic conditions. The roots of Pelargonium sidoides comprise compact, underground branched tubers. The roots of umckaloabo grow deep into the ground, enabling the plants to endure the veld fires that break out often in several areas of their natural habitat. Extracts from the root system of the herb are used to prepare several remedies.

Indigenous to South Africa, the name umckaloabo has its origin in two separate Zulu words - "umkhuhlane" denoting diseases associated with fever and cough, and "uhlabo", which denotes chest pain.

For several centuries, inhabitants of South Africa have employed the roots of umckaloabo to prepare traditional remedies for diarrhea, respiratory problems, liver complaints and dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation). Since 1983, Pelargonium sidoides root extracts are available over-the-counter in German pharmacies and have been used extensively for treating infections of the respiratory tract, throat and the sinus. Currently, scientists are experimenting with an aqueous formulation of Pelargonium sidoides root extracts called EPs 7630® with a view to examine their potential for treating severe bronchitis, common cold and acute pharyngitis (also known as a severe non-group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus tonsillopharyngitis).

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Benefits Of Umckaloabo (Pelargonium Sidoides) For Health

The therapeutic attributes of Umckaloabo (Pelargonium Sidoides) are attributed to the various elements enclosed by the plant. Chemical analysis of the plant has revealed that it contains gallic acid, flavonoids and gallic acid methyl ester (also known as polyphenols), which mainly contribute to the herb’s curative properties. Umckaloabo also contains the essential minerals calcium and silica.

A home herbal remedy from South Africa, umckaloabo is a plant that is often used in over-the-counter cold and flu medicines. Umckaloabo has antibacterial effects that can help to combat infections, especially in the respiratory system. Umckaloabo has no equal when it comes to pharmacological action, which is perfect for the treatment of respiratory system infections. Umckaloabo activates anti-viral defenses, fights germs, and is mucolytic.

Acute bronchitis, upper respiratory tract infections, the common cold, and tonsillopharyngitis may all be treated by umckaloabo. Known more commonly as Pelargonium sidoides or umcka, it may also be a viable remedy for acute rhinosinusitus. An antibacterial agent, the plant impedes bacteria from adhering to the mucus membranes. When employed in the form of a home remedy, umckaloabo primarily works to cut down the ailment period and, at the same time, alleviates the symptoms.

Benefits Of Umckaloabo (Pelargonium Sidoides) For Health
Umckaloabo (Pelargonium Sidoides) Picture

Umckaloabo is available as a syrup as well as a cough drop or tablet for most of these uses. Its primary purpose when used as a home herbal remedy is to shorten the period of sickness, as well as to relieve the affected person's symptoms. The remedy also helps break up mucus, fights bacteria, and works as an antiviral agent.

Umckaloabo also possesses the aptitude to invigorate the immune system, thereby aiding to put off the spread as well as growth of an infection. This is the main reason why many people use this herbal remedy as a substitute for various traditional antibiotics. Umckaloabo is also known to treat tuberculosis successfully. In addition, Umckaloabo is also effective in treating acute as well as chronic throat, nose and ear infections. A mainstream treatment in South Africa and surrounding areas, umckaloabo is also used in Germany, England, and other countries.

Umckaloabo (Pelargonium Sidoides) Side effects and cautions

In fact, as in the case of any other herb, you should check with your physician before you start using medications containing umckaloabo or any of its extracts.

Generally speaking, most people have no adverse effects due to umckaloabo, provided it is used for a short-term. Nevertheless, there have been some reports of skin rash accompanied by itching (at times occurring together with swelling under the skin or constriction of the airways, breathing problems, circulatory failure, rapid heartbeat and even diarrhea), gastrointestinal irritation and conjunctivitis following the use of this herb and/ or medical formulations prepared from umckaloabo.

People suffering from liver diseases should exercise caution while using umckaloabo. Similarly, people enduring problems related to the heart should also be careful while using umckaloabo (Pelargonium sidoides). Even asthma patients should try to avoid this herb and remedies containing umckaloabo or its extract.

Use of Pelargonium sidoides may augment the chances of bleeding. Hence, people suffering from bleeding disorders should exercise additional caution while using this herb. People who are taking blood-thinners or medicines that may enhance bleeding risks should also use this herb carefully. Some people taking such drugs may require dosing adjustments.

Pregnant women as well as nursing mothers should avoid umckaloabo or any medication prepared from it, as there is no scientific evidence regarding the effect of the herb on women during such periods.

Children under the age of one should not use this treatment. If symptoms do not improve after using umckaloabo for a few days, a more serious condition may exist. If this occurs, a physician should be consulted.

In case the symptoms of a patient do not improve even using umckaloabo for some days, it is an indication of the fact that the person may be suffering from a more serious condition. In such cases it is essential to stop treatment with umckaloabo and consult a physician at the earliest. Although umcka or Pelargonium sidoides is believed to be a safe herbal remedy for most people, any person enduring kidney problems should not use this remedy. Similarly, those who are taking warfarin should also stay away from using umckaloabo.