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Sceletium tortuosum, Kanna seeds

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Sceletium tortuosum, Kanna seeds
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Sceletium tortuosum seeds

 

 

Sceletium tortuosum belongs to the Aizoaceae. It is better known as Kanna. This name means something like "good to chew". It comes originally from South Africa.
Kanna is a perennial, herbaceous plant, creeping on the ground. It does not grow high. The leaves of the Kanna are succulent meaning they are thick to save water. The leaves look like a triangle and are curved on both sides forming a kind of channel.
The flowers of the Kanna are white or just pale colored. There are rose and yellow variations. The stamina are clearly visible. The fruit is a capsule bearing the brown seeds.

S. tortuosum is used because it contains many alkaloids. The fresh leaves contain in addition oxalic acid which is irritating. The amount of oxalic acid goes down when drying the leaves. The natives of Africa used the plant for 1000 years to calm down soldiers returning from war. The Kanna helped the soldiers in addition to handle posttraumatic events. Kanna is chewed or smoked. The leaves are smoked and the roots and shoot is chewed. In small doses Kanna has a calming effect. Until today it is used to treat depressions and mood swings. If it is chewed Kanna can have a numbing effect in the mouth. This effect was long used before an operation in the mouth. If one takes too high doses of Kanna this can cause sickness, high blood pressure, headache and anxiety states.

The seeds need light to germinate. Therefore one should not plant them deep into the substrate. They should just be pressed slightly into the substrate. Before planting the seeds they should be washed in water. It is best to put the seeds into water for 2 days. Placed sunny the seedlings will emerge after 3 weeks in the moist substrate. A temperature of just 22°C is sufficient. As Kanna comes from South Africa it is not winter hardy.

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