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Pelargonium Sidoides Information
Pelargonium sidoides, also known as umckaloabo, is a member of the Geranium family and is native to South Africa. The name umckaloabo is derived from two independent Zulu words: “umkhuhlane,” meaning fever and cough related diseases, and “uhlabo,” meaning chest pain. Pelargonium sidoides forms a rosette-like plant with crowded leaves. Pelargonium sidoides is easily distinguished by its blackish, rather than pink petals. The long-stalked leaves are mildly aromatic, heart-shaped and velvety.
Pelargonium sidoides 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.
For centuries the roots of Pelargonium sidoides DC have been used in traditional South African medicine for the treatment of respiratory diseases, diarrhea, dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), and liver disorders. Extracts of the root have been available in German pharmacies since 1983 without prescription and have been widely used to treat infections of the sinus, throat, and respiratory tract. In modern times Pelargonium sidoides has been studied in humans as a potential treatment for bronchitis (acute), acute pharyngitis (acute non-group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus tonsillopharyngitis), and the common cold.
This plant is easily propagated from seed or by means of cuttings in autumn (March to May).
P. sidoides 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’.