Zanemvula Traditional Healing 
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Artemisia afra

Artemisia afra                 

Afrikaans  Wilde als    or as I was told Wilde alles “want dit maak amper alles reg”.     

English :  African wormwood  -  because the wormwoods are in the  Artemisia genus.

IsiXhosa :  Umhlonyane  - IsiXhosa word for courage

SeSotho  :  Lengana  -  SeSotho for courage

As  you may notice both the Basotho and  Xhosa call it courage, because you take it for courage.  In the indigenous cultures you have to match the characteristic emotion of the  person with the emotion of the plant.  By naming the plant by what it does rather than by whom described it or what it looks like conveys wisdom immediately. This emotional match is what brings about the healing.

Courage is the quality we all need in quantity when we need to face letting go what we think we know before we can learn more and new things. Change is so difficult without courage.  Since we generalise the little we know and think it can be applied always then we are stuck in our security of generalisation.  

Seeking security through fear of authority is an even bigger block to your development.  Use observation to investigate information yourself. Make the effort.

Self doubt is a great destroyer of courage.  

Description and diagnostic features

This plant grows about a metre to two high and has finely feathered grey-green leaves. The leaves are bitter to the taste.  The plant  is covered with small ball shaped flowers from late summer. They are yellow-green.

Part used

      Leaves dry or fresh.


To imbue courage. It is the gall of courage. The Xhosa name umhlonyane means courage.  If you are lacking courage it will help you. As an additive to any cold remedy it is excellent to get things going.  

There is anecdotal evidence in South Africa of the use of “wilde alles” for the successful treatment of malaria in people. Many parasites use iron as a catalyst for their enzymes. Humans use mostly zinc.  

The activity of the Artemisia against the malaria plasmodium parasite seems to be its ability to coagulate the iron in the vacuole of the plasmodium making it unavailable and thereby inactivating the parasite’s enzymes.

To be active and engaging we need to absorb strength. This plant helps us to absorb and use our foods by helping to digest  them fully. Complex sugars like sucrose (cane sugar) and Lactose (milk sugar) need to be broken down into single sugar molecules like glucose and fructose.  Not only is it a great appetite booster but causes our tissues to be able to absorb the sugars from our blood stream because they are digested into single units.  Because it stimulates sugar absorption from the blood stream it overcomes stress of the fear of lack, that creates diabetes. Without the complex sugars oozing from our blood, yeasts like Candida  have no food.

Not only does it help absorb food but it also helps absorbing water. In stead of feeling bloated from water, it quenches your thirst. Great for overcoming dehydration stress.

Getting teeth requires the courage to bite. When the baby is crying from the irritation of its gums, rub fresh Artemisia leaves between your fingers. Then use those fingers to rub the babies' gums. The teeth will soon emerge.

Another important use is to stimulate weak people to react to homeopathic medicines.  Homeopathic or picture medicines present a message to the client. Old or very weak or debilitated stressed people or animals cannot react to the homeopathic message.  Artemisia can enable this.

Another way to get the child to go to school quickly is to do the war dance with him . In this kind of “chensa”  you walk by putting down the ball of you foot hard and then following it by hitting the ground with  the heel of your foot.  This causes the body to shudder and shake the kidneys.  This shakes out the fear and there he goes full of courageous enthusiasm five minutes later.

My teacher Phillip regarded it as one of the two basic first aid remedies.  If a child claimed to be too sick to go to school, you would offer him a cup of this tea.  If he took it and he needed it, it would not be bitter.  If he was just trying to avoid school then it would taste terribly bitter and he would rather go to school than drink it. This is another great thing about this herb, is that it is self regulating, if you are prepared to taste it rather  than take it in a sugar coated pill or capsule.


    Take it as a tea once or twice a day or more often in acute situations.  

     It tastes bitter  when you do not need it any more. Reduce the concentration of the tea as it becomes bitter.

Contra Indications

As the plant seems to have the capacity of coagulating free iron, it would work well with inactivating many parasites, but it would be pointless giving it together with stinging nettle that makes iron available.

The ability of certain people to absorb and concentrate Iron, removing it from the mouth and eyes and other bodily opening surfaces have saved them from being infected by parasites that need iron to function. The very low levels of available Iron seem to have played a major role in survival during the black plague because there was not enough iron for the effective functioning of the parasite enzymes.  (see Survival of the Sickest.)

Some cancer cells are also very hungry for iron.  To prime them for destruction first feed them with more iron which is supplied by stinging nettle. The greedy cancer cells load up on iron whereas the rest of the body only absorbs what it needs. Now is the time to stop the Nettle and start the coagulation of the iron in the cancer cells with Artemisia afra. Over 95% of the cancer cells will succumb to the rock storm.


It grows wild in most of the Eastern Cape and other mountainous highlands as far as North Africa. It likes well drained heavy soil (clay soil). It also needs fresh soil to migrate to.


It grows well from cuttings if the cuttings are put in the ground in autumn and kept moist. Remove most of the leaves from the cuttings. Do not use cuttings on which there are flowers or fruit. In sandy soils there is usually a potassium deficiency which needs to be addressed to grow healthy Artemisia, else a plague of aphids will try to remove them.