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Cancer Bush


Botanical name: Lessertia frutescens (Sutherlandia frutescens)

Common names: Cancer Bush (Eng,) kankerbos, gansies, Jantjie Berend, klappers, kalkoentjiebos, keurtjies (Afr.)

Family: Fabacaea

Lessertia frutescens  is a much-respected and long-used medicinal plant, and an attractive, small, soft-wooded shrublet, 0.5 to 1 m in height. The unique aspects of this plant is the pinnate compound, leaflets, grey-green in colour, giving the bush a silvery appearance. The flowers are orange-red, up to 35 mm long, at the tips of the branches in spring to mid-summer.

Cancer Bush has a very bitter taste initially and uniquely sweet as an after-taste.  


The traditional and reported uses of Cancer Bush ranges from internal and external treatment for some cancers, as a blood purifier, for diabetes, rheumatism and gynaecological ailments. 


The leaves and branch tips are used as an infusion internally and externally for washes, ointments and creams. 


Do not use during pregnancy.The use of excessive amounts of this herb are reputed to cause vomiting. Side effects of moderate use include sweating.

View SANBI medicinal monograph

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