A Passion For Herbs

Our Passion for using herbs at EHP

Have you ever wondered why we at EHP are so passionate about Herbs?

We have personally felt the health benefits of taking herbs for daily health. For example, Alfalfa powder in a breakfast smoothie gives us a daily dose of natural minerals and vitamins. And a daily dose of Sutherlandia for Sue to help increase her habit as she deals with her health issues. The wonderful thing about these herbs and others is that they are safe for most people to use on an almost daily basis. We do, of course, need to take breaks from most herbs so that our bodies continue to gain maximum benefit from them.

A passion for herbs and natural products.

Phytotherapy (Phytotherapy is the practice of using medicines derived from plants or herbs to treat or prevent health conditions) is an ancient form of healing that dates back thousands of years and has been used in most, if not all, cultures. It is said that herbs were used over 6 000 years ago in Iraq. They were used in Medieval Europe. The Egyptian Ebers papyrus of c. 1500 BC is the earliest surviving written account of medicinal herbs from the Middle East. The Vedas from around that time also mentioned herbs in their poems. Hippocrates (460 – 377 BC) the Greek “father of medicine” and The Chinese in the first century wrote the Chinese medical text, the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine and Divine Husbandman’s Classic heralded the beginning of Chinese medicine, This has been refined and developed, and Chinese medicine is still practised today. Dioscorides wrote the first European herbal, De Materia Medica. It listed numerous herbs and their uses.

Drying herbs naturally

Our ancestors observed the effect of plants on animals and experimented on themselves. In doing so, they tested the uses and healing benefits of these herbs. With all that history and experience herbs certainly have enough evidence to back their effectiveness and have led us to believe they are a help when we use them as preventative medicine (Alfalfa and Stinging Nettle are just two examples of herbs that are used to improve our state of wellbeing. This can help prevent us from getting health conditions which are brought on by our modern lifestyle. We believe that herbs are able to restore balance in the body and thus bring about healing.

Herbs are mentioned in the bible as healing herbs and even mentioned in the creation story in Genesis. (Gen 1:11 “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.”) We know that herbs have been used for healing and health for as long as humans have been recording history.

This history is interesting, but why are we passionate about them today? In our modern world, we have become so used to eating fast food, consuming medicines to “fix” us, and leading sedentary lifestyles that place us in positions of dis-ease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, blocked arteries, heart attacks…The list goes on). We believe that leading the healthiest lifestyle that we possibly can will help prevent us from living lives filled with pain, disease and various health issues.


Call to action: Would you like to know more about herbs that can help improve your health? Come and speak to us at The Herbalist’s Edge Apothecary, if you live in Durban, or Whatsapp us on 0844590072 and we can set up an online consultation. We speak about health holistically: body, mind and spirit. It includes food choices, supplements, herbs, exercise, and other modalities that may help bring you to your optimal healthy self.

Cancer Bush

The amount of people suffering from cancer and telling us this at Shongweni Market has amazed me. People in that situation are looking for something to lesson the ravages of the disease and often ask us for suggestions in this regard.

Fortunately, Sutherlandia frutescens (Cancer Bush), an old Cape Dutch remedy, grows over a lot of South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia. Tradition states that it is good for stomach problems and internal cancers. It is also used traditionally for colds, flu, chicken pox, diabetes. varicose veins. Piles inflammation, liver problems backache and rheumatism.

Medical research says that that this herb encourages the body to make use of its own resources to stimulate wellbeing. We know several cancer patients who have used cancer bush to prevent wasting. Evidence shows anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial and anti-stress activity.

Do we offer this herb? Yes, we do,  as we have people testifying to its efficacy


I have just been amazed at the variety and ways this wonderful herb Calendula officinalis (Marygold, Marybud) has been used.

It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, its ability to relieve spasms of the smooth muscles in the body, its ability to stop bleeding when applied to a wound, the healing of the said wound and its antiseptic properties.

Internally it can be made into a tea and used for many stomach disorders e.g. gastric and duodenal ulcers, stomach cramps

Externally it can be used as an ointment, lotion or wash for cuts and bruises, nappy rash, sore nipples, burns and scalds.

Its many uses has encouraged us to sell it as a tea, and tincture.


At Shongweni Market we have a lot of overseas visitors asking to buy a truly South African herb. Buchu (boegoe)Agathasoma betulina is one we often suggest. It is found mostly in the Western Cape. It is part of the heritage of the San and the Khoi people.

The Dutch settlers steeped the leaves in brandy and made a tincture out of it that was used for stomach complaints. Buchu vinegar was used to clean and wash wounds. Many South Africans use it for kidney and urinary tract problems as it is a mild urinary antiseptic, as well as useful for inflammation.

So we have a truly South African herb to be proud of and offer to visitors  from other parts of the world.

African Wormwood vs Wormwood

By now those of you who follow EHP will have seen that we sell both African Wormwood and Wormwood. I would like to look at the differences and similarities of these two herbs.

African Wormwood is obviously African and found in the East of the continent as far as Ethiopia. It is one of our most widely used traditional medicines. Wormwood on the other hand is native to Europe, North Africa and Western Asia. It is however cultivated in America and elsewhere in the world.

African Wormwood (Wildeals) Artemesia afra is used mainly for coughs, colds and Influenza. It has also been used to treat fever, colic, headache. earache, malaria and intestinal worms.

Wormwood (Absinthium) Artemesia absinthium, on the other hand is used mainly for: colds, rheumatism, a cardiac stimulant, to relieve flatulence, prevent stomach spasms, to stimulate menstrual flow, pain reliever during childbirth, tonic and is an antiseptic

So now you know why we sell both those products.