Cancer bush is an attractive legume with delicate red flowers. It is an attractive small, soft wooded shrub, 0.5 to 1 meter high. Leaflets are 4 – 10 mm long. It gives the bush a silvery appearance. They have a very bitter taste. The flowers are orange-red and up to 35 mm long. The fruit is a large bladder-like papery inflated pod and is almost transparent.
It is long been use by indigenous people in South Africa to treat cancer, tuberculosis, flu, colds, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome and AIDS. Cancer bush is known for its adaptogen properties, its calming effect and its ability to aid with weight gain when given to wasting patients. It is used as an immune building tonic. Useful for chickenpox, stomach problems, and the treatment of internal cancer. It is also been used to treat asthma, TB, bronchitis, rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis and osteo-arthritis, liver problems, hemorrhoids, piles, bladder, uterus and women’s complaints, diarrhea, stomach ailments, heartburn, peptic ulcer, diabetes,varicose veins and inflammation. It has also been used for mental and emotional stress, including irritability, anxiety and depression and as a gentle tranquilizer. It is a useful bitter tonic and a little taken before meals will aid digestion and improve the appetite. It is considered to be a good general medicine.
Washing of wounds, wash eyes to treat eye inflammations and as a douche for prolapse of the uterus.
Safety and Precautions:
May interfere with pharmaceutical and anti-retro-viral drugs. Pregnant and nursing mothers should avoid taking Cancer bush as there is little scientific study on the effect, though traditionally it has been used by pregnant women in South Africa with no known negative effects.