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Known as Kankerbos by the indigenous people of Southern Africa, has been used for centuries to treat cancer and a variety of ailments. It has powerful immune boosting properties and has been classified as an adaptogen. (An adaptogen is an herbal substance or “tonic” that helps the body to adapt to environmental and internal stress by changing body metabolism.) Cancerbush is a flowering shrub of the pea family that grows up to 1.2m high and is found in its natural state only in the drier areas of the Western and Northern Cape provinces of Southern Africa.



The use of medicinal preparations from the leaves has been recorded for the following conditions: Cancer, Anxiety, Arthritis, Asthma, Backache, Chronic fatigue syndrome, Depression, Diabetes (type 2) Edema, High fever, Gastric ailments, Heartburn, Hot flushes, Hypertension, Influenza, ME, Peptic ulcer, Rheumatism, Rheumatoid arthritis, Viral hepatitis, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Wasting from cancer, TB and AIDS and Mental depression and Lupus, Hemorrhoids/Piles and Clamidia. It has always been used as an appetite stimulant for people wasted by disease though it does not stimulate the appetite of healthy people, The cancer bush, like many wild African plants, is being driven to extinction by the threat of aliens from Australia. The Black Wattle, in particular, seems to be taking over the African bush.


Cancerbush is known among the Sotho culture as 'motlepelo' meaning 'bringing back the heart' - a traditional treatment used by the Sotho for emotional shock and stress. An infusion of cancerbush was also given to Zulu warriors returning from battle 'to take the war out' - as a calming tea. In addition for the calming effects on the central nervous system, cancerbush has been used throughout its natural distribution in the prevention and treatment of various illnesses. Cancerbush contains canavanine is rich in amino acids and has small amounts of saponins. No alkaloids are present.




The great medicine that was used to kill the effects of the devastating 1918 influenza pandemic which claimed 50 million lives worldwide is Cancerbush, undefeatable evidence shows that Cancerbush is 1000% times effective in the elimination of Influenza / Swine flu. The “Spanish” influenza pandemic of 1918 -1919, caused 50 million deaths worldwide, this remains an ominous warning to public health. In the United States, during the Great Swine Flu Massacre of 1976 the national program of swine flu injections was hardly under way before alarming "rumours" of sudden death and of terrible side effects such as various forms of paralysis, acute heart failure and cancer began to alarm the American people, during which the officials desperately tried to complete their announced goal of vaccinating every person in America with this poison. In the ensuing weeks, this figure continued to be revised upward until the officials admitted that sixteen hundred persons had died immediately after being injected with the vaccine despite these casualties, the officials continued the program of injection until Dec. 16, 1976, when public outcry became so great that it was officially stopped.

Cancerbush has application in the treatment of all conditions that are associated with impaired immune function, stress or general debility of the body. It strengthens the body's natural immune response, supports the healing system and accelerates the recovery process.

The full botanical name of Cancerbush is Sutherlandia frutescens subspecies microphylla elite. It has been commonly referred to as: Kankerbos (Afrikaans) and Cancerbush (English).

Another traditional name is Phetola which means it changes - meaning that the plant changes the course of many illnesses towards a favorable outcome. (This is similar to the European concept of an alterative.)

Cancerbush enjoys a long history as a highly valued component of African Traditional Medicine for:

  • Colds and flu

  • Asthma and bronchitis

  • Mild to moderate hypertension

  • Digestive disorders, peptic ulcers, gastrititus and reflux oesophagitis

  • Hot flashes and irritability in menopause

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Viral hepatitis

  • General immune system support and longevity

Cancerbush is regarded as the most significant and multi-purpose of the medicinal plants in Southern Africa. It powerfully assists the body to mobilize its own resources (the immune system) to cope with physical and mental stresses, and is therefore, correctly speaking, an adaptogen (in the class of herbs such as Astragalus, Ginseng, and Ashwagandha) and has even been referred to as African Ginseng.

In fact, Cancerbush is considered the African adaptogen par excellence. It is a herb with a profound effect on the body-mind-energy system, maintaining and optimizing physical, mental and emotional wellness, and it is as if Nature has combined, in a single plant, the immune stimulating benefits of Echinacea, the adapatogenic effects of Panax Ginseng and the energy of Ashwagandha.

Chemistry and Pharmacology


The second ingredient, L-Arginine, is an amino acid present in the proteins of all life forms. It is classified as a semi-essential, or conditionally essential, amino acid. This means that under normal circumstances the body can synthesize sufficient L-Arginine to meet physiological demands. However, there are conditions, such as prolonged exposure to a highly stressful environment (whether physiological or mental), where the body cannot keep up. These put an increased demand on the body for the synthesis of L-Arginine. Specifically, Arginine is important in the formation of polyamines, molecules that newly formed B cells and T cells require during their rapid growth and proliferation in the early stages of an infection. Arginine also promotes wound healing and regeneration of the liver. The form of Arginine used in this formulation is L-Arginine (L is the natural form), free form and freebase for high bio-availability and rapid absorption into the bloodstream.

Vitamin B6
The third ingredient, Vitamin B6, is pyridoxine hydrochloride, which is both stable and bioavailable. Pyridoxine, or Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin necessary for the proper function of over 70 different enzymes that participate in amino acid metabolism. Pyridoxine also aids in maintaining sodium and potassium balance. It is required by the nervous system, and is needed for normal brain function and for the synthesis of the nucleic acids RNA and DNA, which contain the genetic instructions for the reproduction of all cells and for normal cellular growth. It activates many enzymes and aids in the absorption of vitamin B12, supports immune system function, and is necessary for antibody production.

The forth ingredient, Selenium, is in the form: Se-methylseleno-L-cysteine (SeSMC, patent pending). SeSMC or Methylselenocysteine is a selenoamino acid that is synthesized by vegetables such as garlic and broccoli. It is a newly developed, bio-available and safe form of the essential trace mineral nutrient, Selenium. Selenium in the form of Selenocysteine is an essential component of antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase and is also found in several proteins in the body.

The immunological role of Selenium is well documented. Additionally, adequate Selenium nutrition offers a line of defense against viral infections and chronic diseases as well. Methylselenocysteine, in light of its high bioavailability and natural occurrence in food sources, is the most efficacious Selenium supplement available.

The fifth ingredient is Zinc. This is in the form of Zinc L-monomethionine (U.S. Patent Nos. 4,764,633 and 5,278,329). This is the most bioavailable form of Zinc currently available. In a high proportion of studies, including those involving the entire range of essential micronutrients, both vitamins and minerals, Zinc continues to show the most specific and, in many ways, one of the strongest effects on the functioning of the immune system of any micronutrient. Zinc has a unique role in thymus dependent T-cell mediated immune response.

Zinc's immunomodulatory effects may be accounted for by its membrane-stabilization effect, which affects signaling processes involved, in cell-mediated immunity. Another role of zinc is in the maintenance of the integrity of biological membranes resulting in their protection against oxidative injury. Zinc has immunomodulatory activity and antioxidant activity. Zinc also has putative, antiviral, fertility-enhancing and retinoprotective properties.

Clinical and Supplement Uses

Preliminary scientific research, published peer-reviewed scientific research, and clinical experience suggests that the key phytochemicals in select chemotypes of Cancerbush varieties are:

  • Immunomodulatory

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • Vaso-dilatory

  • Analgesic

  • Anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial

  • Anti-cancer

  • Inhibitors of Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) - excess production of TNF known to drive the wasting process in Cancer, TB and AIDS patients.


2 Capsules per day.

Side Effects

In keeping with World Health Organization guidelines for the assessment of herbal medicines, Cancerbush is generally regarded as safe on the basis of its long history of safe use in South Africa.

It is one of the few medicinal plants on the world market that has been formally studied for safety, in this case, in Vervet monkeys. The Medical Research Council of South Africa tested elite chemotype Cancerbush dried leaf powder for safety in 2001. The study was part of a Medical Research Council Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) process to establish a "clinical platform" to assess the safety and efficacy of promising South African indigenous medicinal plants.

No toxicity was apparent in any variable studied by the MRC.


None documented at this time.


1.    People suffering from wasting disease.


2.     Scientific research studies compiled on April 2002 sponsored by Medical Research Council of South Africa & National Research Foundation –

Project Leader (MRC): Dr. Jurgen Seier

Project Coordinator (MRC): Dr. Matsabisa

External Consultant: Prof. A. Lochner

Compiled by: Dr. J.V.  Sier (scientist)

Dr. M.A. Dhansay (clinician)

Ms. J. Loza  (technican)

Mrs. R. Laubscher (statistican)