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Bulbine natalensis

Bulbine natalensis   and other similar species with aloe like leaves and thick red stem.       

Afrikaans:  Rooiwortel  

English:  Red water

IsiXhosa: Matshetshafike  

Zulu :  amanzibomvu - water red.

Description and diagnostic features   

It looks like a very soft spineless aloe.

It has a thick stem that looks rather like a boerewors sausage. It is red.  

Part used:    The red stem between the leaves and roots.


If you cut thin slices of the stem and put it in a glass of water the water soon turns red and is good to drink before bed time as it is also a mild relaxant.

A bodybuilder took rooiwortel root extract for two weeks and did a full blood analysis before and after taking the extract. The only thing that stood out was the increase in testosterone. Traditionally it is used to improve erectile function.

French research has showed that it dissolves cholesterol plaque in the arteries.  I noted that high blood pressure from high cholesterol is rapidly reduced from taking this red stem extract.


The best way to harvest is cutting off the stem at soil level so that it sprouts out again.  The stem can be cut off below the leaves and the leafy top placed on the soil where it will sprout new roots.

Warning   No warning

Habitat      It grows best where is does not have to compete with grass such as on rocky outcrops near the ocean where it gets regular mist that dries out so that grass cannot survive.  

Notes:      Another substance that also dissolves cholesterol is lecithin.  This is a phospholipid.  Basically an edible soap.  It acts as a soap because the oily ( lipid) end is oil soluble, and the other end (phosphate) is water soluble.

It is also an important nutrient as it is a component of  the cell membranes.

High concentrations of cholesterol in the blood is often associated with low cholesterol on the walls of the large intestine.  Bacteria in the large intestine can now irritate and inflame the bowel wall. Hence we get Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  Consumption of lecithin can immediately resolve both conditions.