Umckaloabo – Pelargonium Sidoides or South African Geranium
What is it?
Umckaloabo, which is scientifically known as Pelargonium sidoides, is a medicinal plant that belongs to the Geranium family and originates from South Africa. So, it is also called South African Geranium. The name umckaloabo is a combination of two separate Zulu words, “umkhuhlane” that means cough and fever-related diseases, and “uhlabo” that means chest pain.
For centuries, native South Africans have been treating diarrhea, dysmenorrheal, liver disorders and respiratory diseases by using the roots of Pelargonium sidoides as a traditional medicine. Ever since 1983, German natives have been buying extracts of the root from local pharmacies without prescription for the treatment of respiratory tract, remedies for sinusitis and curing throat infections. Studies have proven that conditions like acute bronchitis, common cold and acute pharyngitis can be potentially treated using EPs 7630, which is an aqueous formulation of the Umckaloabo roots.
Other Names of Umckaloabo
Umckaloabo is also known as coumarin sulphates, geranium root, Pelargonium sidoides DC, South African Geranium, umckalin, etc.
Note: Ever since 1983, in Germany, an extract of the roots of Pelargonium reniforme and Pelargonium sidoides has been marketed as “Umckaloabo.”
What is it Used for?
Numerous tests regarding the uses of Pelargonium sidoides have been conducted on both animals and humans. However, proof regarding the effectiveness and safety of this medicinal plant has not yet been discovered. It is claimed that Pelargonium sidoides can even help treat potentially serious conditions, but it is always better to consult a qualified healthcare professional before using it.
Bronchitis (Strong scientific evidence): It has been suggested based on human studies that acute bronchitis can be treated using Umckaloabo.
Acute pharyngitis (Good scientific evidence): According to human studies, it has also been suggested that acute pharyngitis can be treated using this plant. However, a firm conclusion has not yet been made.
Common Cold (Good scientific evidence): Based on human studies, it has even been recommended that common cold can be treated using Umckaoabo, though no firm conclusions are available yet.
Other Scientific and Traditional Uses
There are several other scientific and traditional uses of Umckaloabo, but the effectiveness and safety of using it to treat the following conditions has not yet been proven. These conditions include:
- Liver disease
Expert opinion, publications, scientific research and traditional use have helped in determining the following dosage for the usage of Umckaloabo.
Adults: Adults can take up to 30 drops of a particular Umckaloabo extract, like EPs 7630, thrice a day for 10 days to treat respiratory tract conditions and some of the other mentioned conditions.
Children: Children can be given 10 drops of the EPs 7630 solution thrice a day for 7 days to treat acute pharyngitis and some of the other conditions.
Is it Safe?
Herbs and supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which also includes Pelargonium sidoides. This is the reason that the purity, safety, and strength of this medicinal herb are not been guaranteed, and its effects can vary. Certain side effects can also be experienced by those using this herb or its extract, in which case a healthcare professional should be consulted. The side effects include:
- Fast heartbeat
- Gastrointestinal irritation
- Swelling under the skin
Those allergic or hypersensitive to Umckaloabo, or other herbs from the Geraniaceae family should avoid using this herb or its extract. Those who are allergic might end up suffering from skin rashes when using it.
Taking this herb can be risky for patients suffering from a liver disease and the risk of bleeding can be increased by it too, so it should be used cautiously. People with heart problems are also advised to be careful when using Umckaloabo, breastfeed or pregnant women are recommended not to use it.
Will Umckaloabo interact with other drugs, foods, herbs or supplements?
Since the tests conducted on this herb are not as conclusive as they should be, so there is a possibility that it can interact with other components. Since the risk of bleeding can be increased by this herb, so its use should be avoided by those taking blood-thinning medications. Following the recommended dosage, when using this herb or its extract, is also very necessary.
Thus, when using Umckaloabo or South African Geranium or the extract of this medicinal plant, it is important to keep the mentioned information in mind.