Kanna, also known as Channa and Kougoed, is the dried and/or fermented plant matter of the Sceletium tortuosum plant. It can be found growing wild in the cape regions of South Africa and has been used as a traditional tribal medicine for centuries. Whilst only occurring naturally in South Africa, Kanna is an easy to grow plant that can be cultivated pretty much anywhere, as long as it is taken indoors when it gets too cold.
Interested in its medicinal potential, the plant is currently being investigated by pharmaceutical companies, some of whom have been granted certain rights by the South African government. Kanna could potentially be sold as an over the counter medicine in the future.
Kanna's traditional use has been as a mood elevator and for the reduction of stress and anxiety. This has led to its wider use in western countries as an anti depressant. Its anti depressant qualities stem from its natural ability to mimic the SSRI mechanism, suppressing serotonin re-uptake. This has positioned Kanna as a potential alternative for those looking for natural ways to elevate their mood.
It should be noted that Kanna has been used to treat acute forms of depression and anxiety, as opposed to being taken as a regular, daily supplement.
Traditionally, Kanna is taken by chewing on the dried plant matter and swallowing the saliva. However, it is also possible to make it into teas and tinctures, as well as smoke it or use it as a snuff.
Whilst not hallucinogenic or psychedelic, many believe that kanna can enhance and potentiate the effect of other psychoactive substances such as cannabis. There is no scientific backing to this, only anecdotal reports.
Kanna is on the rise. In the quest for a healthy lifestyle and natural well-being, alternative and safe ways to help keep stress, anxiety and depression in check become more important. Kanna has shown promising qualities in these regards, and is often recommended by herbal practitioners as a supplement to aid episodes of stress - complemented by a healthy and active lifestyle.