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Sand Olive


Botanical name: Dodonaea viscosa var angustifolia

Common names: Sand olive (Eng,) Sandolien, Ysterbos (Afr,) Mutata-vhana (Venda,) Mutepipuma (Shona.)

Family: Sapindaceae

Sand Olive is a fast-growing large shrub with a wide distribution around the South African coast. The long thin waxy green leaves are very aromatic but the show for the plant happens when clusters of yellow winged seeds adorn the plant in early summer. After a fire Sand Olive grows up from the roots again and it self-spreads. It can handle severe pruning to give strong fresh new growth. The taste of Sand Olive is nutty, well rounded and great in combination with Buchu and Rooibos.


Ancient and modern documented uses of the plant have described it as a remedy for fevers, anti-inflammatory and helpful with rheumatoid arthritis. The very aromatic fresh leaves are a strong anti-allergic agent and very effective against hay fever. Chewing a leaf can eliminate hay fever for several hours. After use for a month, people report that hay fever seems to go away permanently.

It is also used for colds and flu where there is streaming of the eyes and nose. Put fresh leaves in a bowl with boiling water and hold the head over the bowl with towel covering the lot. Breathing in this steam relieves all the air passages. It has been known to alleviate asthma.


Internally, a leaf infusion is used as a mild purgative and in the treatment of inflammation, chest colds, hypertension and arthritis. Externally, a leaf infusion or decoction is used as a gargle for sore throat or fevers and applied locally to treat haemorrhoids or oral thrush and sun burn.

Precaution: No special precautions.

View SANBI medicinal monograph

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