Have You Heard About This New Stress-Buster?
We all experience stress. It’s a normal part of life, and in a sense, we can be grateful that much of our stress today comes from things that aren’t actually trying to kill us (which is what stress evolved to protect us). But that doesn’t mean stress isn’t real or that it isn’t harmful.
In fact, according to the Global Organization for Stress, in approximately 77% of individuals who are stressed, their condition impacts on their physical health. Stress affects the mental health of 73% of individuals and disrupts the sleeping habits of 48% of people.
These days, it seems everyone is looking for something which can help them find that sense of calm and well-being that they’re missing. You may never have heard of it, but for hundreds of years, an African plant named kanna has been just that for the native peoples who use it.
But what is kanna, and can it really help take some of the load off your mind?
What Is Kanna?
Kanna is a small succulent plant native to South Africa. In supplement form, Kanna is often known as Zembrin or by its scientific name, sceletium tortuosum.
For hundreds of years (if not longer) members of African tribes used kanna to relieve anxiety and stress, elevate mood, and to fight fatigue. When European settlers arrived, they recognized its benefits and began using it themselves.
Until somewhat recently, kanna was virtually unknown outside of South Africa, but in an effort to combat the worldwide mental health epidemic, people are beginning to seriously consider kanna for its ability to create a sense of calm and well-being.
Can Kanna Help With Anxiety And Depression?
Kanna is traditionally known for its ability to elevate mood, reduce stress, tension, anti-anxiety and its tranquilizing properties, but what does the science have to say about these claims?
Anxiety is characterized by hyper-responsivity to mild threats. The part of our brain that assesses threats is the amygdala. People suffering from chronic anxiety have hyperreactive amygdalas. One research study asked “can kanna reduce anxiety by reducing amygdala reactivity?”
Examining the chemical makeup of kanna reveals that its leaves contain a robust profile of alkaloids, specifically mesembrine. These alkaloids have been shown to have inhibitory effects on serotonin uptake and phosphodiesterase4 activity.
Okay, okay. I’ll give it to you in English. Long story short: the alkaloids present in kanna showed promising results, and the research team concluded that it’s very possible that kanna may have the ability to decrease anxiety by attenuating amygdala reactivity.
Studies such as this suggest that kanna may be an effective psychotropic, able to relieve symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression, just as thousands of kanna users claim.
What Else Can Kanna Do?
In addition to its psychotropic effects, kanna is thought to deliver a host of other benefits. Since kanna is a relative newcomer to the global wellness scene, research surrounding these effects is scarce, but there seems to be some evidence that kanna may:
- Offer cognitive support
- Promote pain relief
- Reduce inflammation
- Eliminate harmful free radicals
- Have antimicrobial properties
- Support weight management
Things To Keep In Mind
Compared to other herbal remedies, kanna is relatively new. Research surrounding it is slim. Clinical studies suggest that kanna does its best work at low doses (25 mg) so don’t go too crazy with it if you don’t feel it working right away. In fact, studies have shown that kanna doesn’t begin working for about 2 hours, though it may take longer to experience its full effects.
As with any supplement, you should stop taking kanna if you experience a negative reaction.
If you’re looking for a kanna supplement, don’t forget to conduct searches for Zembrin (a common name for kanna supplements) or Sceletium Tortuosum (kanna’s scientific name), as many kanna products carry these labels instead.
Stress and anxiety are a natural, normal part of life, but they shouldn’t be controlling your life. Kanna isn’t an antidepressant, but it may bring a feeling of calm that can give you the power to get back to living your best life. And it does this without the harmful side effects or addictive qualities of prescription antidepressants.