SOUTH AFRICAN GERANIUM Overview Information
South African geranium is a flowering plant that is native to South Africa, as the name suggests. Its roots are used for medicine.
South African geranium 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 South African geranium 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.
How does it work?
South African geranium is usually used for infections such as bronchitis and sinus infection. Researchers think that it might work by killing bacteria or preventing bacteria from attaching to surfaces within the body. South African geranium might also increase the body's normal response to infection.
Likely Effective for:
- Bronchitis. Research shows that adults and children with bronchitis who start taking a specific South African geranium 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. But the tablets seemed to work only for adults, not children.
Possibly Effective for:
- Swollen sinuses, often caused by infection (sinusitis). Developing research suggests that taking a South African geranium extract can help reduce symptoms and clear up sinusitis after 21 days of treatment.
- Common cold. Developing research suggests that taking a South African geranium extract can help reduce symptoms and clear up the common cold after 10 days of treatment.
- Other conditions.
SOUTH AFRICAN GERANIUM Side Effects & Safety
South African geranium seems to be safe when taken by mouth for 2 weeks or less. There is not enough information to know if it is safe when taken for longer periods of time. Some people who take it can experience stomach upset. Some people have had allergic reactions to South African geranium.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of South African geranium during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
“Auto-immune diseases” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: South African geranium might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it’s best to avoid using South African geranium.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination
- Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants) interacts with SOUTH AFRICAN GERANIUM
South African geranium might increase the immune system. Taking South African geranium along with some medications that decrease the immune system might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.
Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others
SOUTH AFRICAN GERANIUM Dosing
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For bronchitis: 30 drops (about 1.5 mL) three times daily or 10-30 mg tablets three times daily of a specific extract of South African geranium (Umckaloabo, EPs 7630, Schwabe GmBh, Germany) for 7 days. In children age 7-12 years, 20 drops of this extract three times daily. In children age 6 years or less, 10 drops of this extract three times daily. Some studies have not found the tablet formulation to work in children.
- For sore throat and swollen tonsils in children age 6-10 years: 20 drops of a specific extract of South African geranium (Umckaloabo, EPs 7630, Schwabe GmBh, Germany) three times daily (about 3 mL/day) for 7 days.