indigenous medicinal

Iboza, the Wonder Plant

The team at the Woza eNanda Walking Trail are busy doing a clean-up of the area, with a focus on clearing alien plants. To this end their resident horticulturalist, Lindelani Zuke, has written a blog post on some of the indigenous plants found in Inanda, asking for feedback from the community regarding what the different plants are used for. I recognised one of the plants from my own garden, and after doing a bit of research I’ll definitely appreciate the rather wild iboza bush a bit more! It’s a seriously fast growing plant, and can take over your garden quite quickly, so has to be managed, but it has the most wonderful scent (which is where it derives its Zulu name from), and has medicinal properties that make it a great addition to your medicine chest. Iboza or Tetradenia riparia can grown nearly a metre in a year and is perfectly suited to Durban’s climate, preferring rain in summer and dry soil in winter. In addition to producing a great misty white flower, the leaves from the bush can be used for a variety of ailments including a sore chest, stomach ache and malaria symptoms. Inhaling the scent of the crushed leaves is also said to relieve headaches.


And if you don’t want to take our word for it, read the testimonials below – iboza really does sound a bit like a wonder plant!

“I just drank half a glass of concentrated iboza after a full glass of it diluted. I had a very bad cough and severely sore throat. My ears were on fire and my throat too, but now it feels like I was never sick. It’s the only natural remedy I know which combats sores and infections inside the body almost immediately, trust me, you’ll never go wrong with it. I use it on my four-year-old son too.”

“My mom used to use the iboza leaves to cure a cold or to alleviate flu-like symptoms or mild fever by boiling the leaves in water and straining. She would drink the hot water like tea!”

source: The Ulwazi Blog

flowers garden indigenous medicinal


Iboza Riparia is an indigenous, winter-flowering shrub that grows to about 1.5 metres tall. The species name, riparia, shows that it grows naturally on river banks. Iboza is  super easy to grow from cuttings and can grow up to around 80cm a year. It has pretty, petite, white flowers.

Iboza has been effectively used for centuries in traditional African medicine as a highly powerful anti-microbic agent. The leaves, which have a strange, smoky scent when rubbed,  contain the strongest anti-microbic substance and also have anti-fungal and some anti-malarial properties. Traditional Zulu uses of the leaves include treating respiratory complaints, malaria, flu, diarrhoea, and also as an inhalant for headaches.

I have a fair few cuttings if anyone would like some. Apparently, with spring en route, now is the time to plant.

Iboza bush
Iboza bush