You may or may not be familiar with the South African plant Pelargonium sidoides, sometimes known as the South African geranium. I’m guessing not.
But extract of this plant’s root has long been a local remedy for respiratory and intestinal problems. In recent years, clinical studies in Europe have backed the validity of the root’s effectiveness as a medicinal treatment, and now the root is available commercially in the US! So, now that we have it, I hear you asking, what is Pelargonium Root good for? Well there are three types of illnesses the root is used to treat these days:
Pelargonium Root extract has long been used to treat sexually transmitted diseases like herpes and gonorrhea, likely because of the root’s anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and immune-boosting properties.
This remedy dates all the way back to the earliest settlers of South Africa. Boiling the root in milk and then drinking the mixture has been known to relieve diarrhea, and it is believed to also be beneficial for relieving dysentery and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, though there is less scientific backing behind that.
Upper Respiratory Infections
More specifically, bronchitis. Research has shown that adults and children with bronchitis who start taking the Pelargonium Root extract within 48 hours of feeling sick have fewer symptoms after 7 days. Other studies found similar conclusions using the root in tablet form, but this proved ineffective on children.
Although studies have concluded that South African geranium seems to be safe when taken by mouth for 2 weeks or less, the evidence regarding safely consuming it for long periods of time in insufficient.
Also, South African geranium might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions. Consult your doctor if you have one of these conditions, though it’s best to avoid using the Pelargonium Root.