Melianthus comosus is a multi-stemmed, evergreen, perennial plant producing semi-woody stems from a woody rootstock. It grows from 70 - 240cm tall. All parts of the plant produce a strong, unpleasant smell when bruised[
A commonly used traditional medicine in S. Africa, where it is sold in local markets[
The plant is widely held to be toxic amongst traditional herbalists in S. Africa, where the plant is used in external medicinal applications[
Southern Africa - Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho.
A plant of drier areas, mainly in the subtropics, but extending into the tropical zone.
Prefers a light, well-drained, fertile soil[
A common traditional medicine in S. Africa, where it is normally only used externally since it is believed to be toxic[
The plant has been shown to contain saponins and tannins[
The root is used both prophylactically and therapeutically in the treatment of snakebite - for this purpose the root is chewed and a root bark tincture applied locally to the wound[
]. A leaf paste or decoction is also utilised for snakebite[
Leaf poultices and leaf decoctions are widely used to treat septic wounds, sores, bruises, backache and rheumatic joints[
Warm aqueous leaf infusions may be applied as a lotion to sores, ulcers, bruises, swellings or wounds that are slow to heal, including venereal sores[
]. A leaf paste may be applied as a local dressing to the affected area[
An ointment of the bark, leaf and flower is used in combination with Melianthus major, Lobostemon fruticosus and Galenia africana to treat wounds[
A decoction is used as an antiseptic wash for skin diseases[
]. A watery lotion of similar composition is used to treat syphilis and as a gargle for sore throat[
A bath medicated with the herb is said to induce sweating and to relieve joint pains[
Easily propagated from seed, which is large, black and easy to handle[
]. Sow the seed when it is ripe in deep seed trays in a medium of compost only[
]. When sowing seed in the colder months, germination may take about four weeks[
]. Cover the seeds, keep them moist, leave the seedlings in the trays until the fourth leaf stage. Transplant into a medium of 2 parts compost and 2 parts loam[
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