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Is kanna a natural remedy that can help against anxiety? Everyone is scared at some point, you may be afraid of dogs, of fireworks or of a difficult conversation. These are fears with a clear cause, and you only experience them occasionally. But if you constantly suffer from fears, it can limit your life considerably. It causes stress, worry, and will likely stop you from doing things. Would kanna be a godsend?


What is kanna?

Kanna (Sceletium toruosum) is a succulent plant that originally grows in South Africa. Traditionally, the natives used the plant against depression, stress and hunger. It provides energy, but it was also used during spiritual ceremonies. They dried it and chewed it (hence the nickname Cold Good). Kanna has been known to natives for centuries, but in the Western world we are only just discovering the power of this plant.

Kanna is becoming more and more popular, because it can have a positive influence on your mood. More research is being done on the effects and the herb could be used to treat physical and mental complaints. There are about 270 million people who suffer from an anxiety disorder. Many of them would like to use a natural remedy to support their well-being.

The effects of kanna on mood

The small succulent contains psychoactive substances and has a mind-altering effect. But it is not hallucinogenic. Also, the effect that Sceletium has on you is very dependent on how much you take and how you use it. Kanna contains four psychoactive alkaloids:

  • Mesembrine
  • Mesembrenone
  • Mesembrenol
  • Tortuisamine

These are the most well-known alkaloids, but they comprise only 1.5% of the alkaloids contained in the plant. Not much is known about how these substances work, but these four are thought to be the driving force behind the many possible uses of Sceletium.

The positive effect that kanna can have on your mood is probably caused by mesembrine. This alkaloid acts as a natural agent that inhibits serotonin reuptake. Serotonin is a hormone that your body produces, it makes you feel happy and satisfied. Serotonin is also associated with a sense of self-confidence and a positive mood.

When serotonin is reabsorbed by the body too quickly, it causes feelings of depression. Hence, taking kanna can help as it prevents the reabsorption of serotonin. Antidepressants also do this, but the advantage is that Sceletium is a natural remedy. It works with your body. That could be a good reason to choose this plant.

How kanna can help with anxiety

How kanna can help with anxiety

Anxiety can manifest itself in many ways. When you are shy, the reason behind it is a fear of showing yourself, fear that people will reject you, that you are not good enough or that you will do something wrong. People of all ages suffer from anxiety. Many people worry a lot, feel stressed, but also inferior. Users of kanna report that taking this herb helps them feel more confident. They talk to others more easily and it relieves anxiety.

In higher doses, Sceletium has a calming effect. You can feel this effect mentally, but also physically (muscles relax and the heartbeat slows down). However, too high a dose can make you less able to concentrate.

Research on kanna in fear

In 2011 researched to what extent Sceletium helps against anxiety. Rats were used for this study, they received a placebo or an extract of Sceletium tortuosum. The rats were restrained for a period of time, which caused stress. The researchers observed the animals' behavior and concluded that kanna had a limited positive effect on the fear behavior. More research is needed in humans to better determine the influence of the plant on anxiety.

In 2013 research is done on humans. The effectiveness of kanna was tested in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 16 healthy participants. It turned out that kanna was able to reduce anxiety responses in the brain. The researchers indicated that they think that Sceletium tortuosum could potentially be used as a means to treat anxiety.

How can you use this plant?

You can take Kanna as a supplement. You can take it as a powder in a warm drink (Happy Calming) or place a little under the tongue. These extracts are available in different strengths (10, 20 and 40x), so you can try out which one works best for you, but you can also easily grow Sceletium yourself with the Kanna Seeds of the Gods seeds. You will see that this special plant will also grow well on your windowsill. So you always have your natural remedy for anxiety at hand.