GreyCell Pro-Calm Skin Gel & Sceletium tortuosum (Mesembryanthemaceae) Information

Sceletium tortuosum (Mesembryanthemaceae) is a succulent herb that grows almost exclusively in South Africa and is a low to the ground flowering creeper. S tortuosum is also known as Kanna, Channa, and Kougoed). The plant has been used by South African Khoe as a mood-stabilising substance from prehistoric times. The first known written account of the plant's use was by Jan van Riebeeck and his crew from the ship Drommedaris in 1662. The traditionally prepared dried Sceletium was often chewed and the saliva swallowed, but it has also been made into gel caps, teas and tinctures, and there any many products that are sold openly on the www.
For hundreds of years, native tribes prized its calming effects, which appear to be very similar to those of St. John's Wort, except the potency is significantly greater. The plant is nowhere near as common in the wild as it once was, with most of it being grown in controlled environments. The plant is not hallucinogenic, contrary to some literature on the subject, and no adverse effects have been documented.

S. tortuosum has been reported to possess significant mood-elevation and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties. The alkaloids contained in S. tortuosum believed to possess psychoactivity include: mesembrine, mesembrenone, mesembrenol and tortuosamine. Mesembrine is a major alkaloid present in Sceletium tortuosum and serves as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) with less prominent inhibitory effects on phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4). Mesembrenone on the other hand serves as a more balanced serotonin reuptake inhibitor and PDE4 inhibitor.

S. tortuosum contains about 11.5% total alkaloids. There is about 0.3% mesembrine in the leaves and 0.86% in the leaves, stems, and flowers of the plant. Sceletium has been tested by the University of Natal. When compared to other plants with a known presence of mesembrine alkaloids, the concentration in Sceletium was found to be far higher.


Sceletium Tortuosum Herba. South African National Biodiversity Institute. pdf file

Smith MT, Field CR, Crouch NR, Hirst, M (1998). "The Distribution of Mesembrine Alkaloids in Selected Taxa of the Mesembryanthemaceae and their Modification in the Sceletium Derived 'Kougoed'". Pharmaceutical Biology 36 (3): 173179. doi:10.1076/phbi.

Gericke N, Viljoen AM (2008). "Sceletium--A Review Update". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 119 (3): 653663. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2008.07.043. PMID 18761074.

Harvey AL, Young LC, Viljoen AM, Gericke NP (2011). "Pharmacological Actions of the South African Medicinal and Functional Food Plant Sceletium tortuosum and its Principal Alkaloids". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 137 (3): 11241129. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2011.07.035. PMID 21798331.

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