What’s Sceletium And What Does It Do?

by | Jul 8, 2024 | Physical Health

The buzzy plant has cropped up in supplements, drinks and as tinctures. Here’s what we know about the herbal medicine and plant sceletium.

What is sceletium?

Sceletium tortuosum is an ancient plant. It’s also called kanna or kougod and has been used for ages by the Khoisan people of South Africa. Carl von Linnaeus, a Swedish biologist, described and classified the plant in 1753.

Traditionally, the medicinal herb has been used by the Khoisan people for various ailments. Sceletium was chewed or smoked and used to relieve toothache, abdominal pain, and as a mood-elevator. It was also used as an analgesic (pain relief), hypnotic, anxiolytic (anxiety relief), thirst and hunger suppressant, and for its intoxicating/euphoric effects.

Now, it’s commonly used as an anti-depressant or to reduce anxiety. Added to that, some people are using it as an alternative to party drugs. Scientists are uncovering its properties as a cognitive enhancer.

What does it do?

The plant has positive effects on the central nervous system. It has potential as a SRI (serotonin reuptake inhibitor) or antidepressant. However, more clinical studies are still needed to explore its full potential. Redditers also describe using it to ‘feel right’. So far, this is what small studies have shown:

Anxiety and depression

Small studies reveal that sceletium may be useful in reducing anxiety, depression and stress response. But these studies were small. Simply put, we need more larger-scale studies.


In a small randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study in healthy subjects, people taking the herb daily for nine weeks said they slept better.

Is sceletium safe?

Very little data exists to point to how sceletium would interact with other medications in the body. It’s best to chat to your doc before taking it, especially if you’re already taking an antidepressant.

Where to get sceletium

For now, if you want to enjoy its reported effects (calm and restful sleep), you can have sceletium in capsule, drink or tincture form.

Euphorika Sceletium Tortuosum Extract
Euphorika Sceletium Tortuosum Extract

This tincture lets you control the dosage, especially if you like to microdose.

Sereen Capsules
Sereen Sceletium Capsules

These capsules contain 200mg of sceletium and may improve focus and cognitive function.

Tea of Life Honeybush
Tea of Life Honeybush Sceletium

Enjoy the calming effects of this kombucha blend. Plus, probiotics could improve mood over time.

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