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South African Geranium


What other names is Umckaloabo known by?

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 Sudafricano, Pelargonium Root, Pélargonium d'Afrique, Pélargonium du Cap, Pelargonium sidoides, Rabas, Rabassam, Racine de Géranium, Racine de Pélargonium, South African Geranium, Uvendle.

What is Umckaloabo?

Umckaloabo is a flowering plant that is native to South Africa, as the name suggests. Its roots are used for medicine.

Umckaloabo was first promoted in Britain in 1897 as a treatment for tuberculosis. It was marketed by Charles Henry Stevens and was known as "Stevens' Cure." It fell out of favor when antibiotics were developed in the mid-1900s.

These days umckaloabo is used for upper respiratory infections including bronchitis, sinusitis, sore throat, tonsillitis, and the common cold. It is also used for sexually transmitted diseases including herpes and gonorrhea. Other uses include treatment of dysentery and diarrhea.

Likely Effective for...

  • Bronchitis. Research shows that adults and children with bronchitis who start taking a specific Umckaloabo extract (Umckaloabo, EPs 7630, Schwabe GmBh, Germany) within 48 hours of feeling sick have fewer symptoms after 7 days of treatment. Some studies have also used extracts in tablet form. However, the tablets seemed to work only for adults, not children.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Sore throat and swollen tonsils (tonsillopharyngitis). When given to children experiencing sore throat and swollen tonsils, Umckaloabo extract seems to significantly reduce pain and difficulty swallowing after 4 days of treatment.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Common cold. Early research suggests that taking Umckaloabo extract three times per day can help reduce symptoms and clear up the common cold after 10 days of treatment.
  • Nasal swelling (sinusitis). Early research suggests that taking Umckaloabo extract three times per day helps reduce symptoms and clear up sinusitis after 21 days of treatment.
  • Tuberculosis.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate Umckaloabo for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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