Beringeria africana (L.) Neck.
Beringeria crispa (L.) G.Don
Marrubium africanum L.
Marrubium crispum L.
Marrubium laurifolium Steud.
Marrubium thouinii Schult. ex Weinm.
Pseudodictamnus emarginatus (L.) Moench
Stachys africana (L.) Kuntze
Ballota africana is an erect to spreading, perennial plant with more or less woody stems; it can grow from 30 - 120cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for medicinal use. The plant, and products made from it, are traded.
Southern Africa - Namibia, western and southern S. Africa
Along streams, in the shelter of rocks and bushes, and as a pioneer in disturbed places[
Ballota africana is found along the western side of southern Africa, but most commonly in the arid, winter-rainfall areas[
It grows best in full sun to semi-shade and good drainage is essential[
The squashed leaves release a pungent aroma[
In the wild, small seedlings are commonly found around the mother plants[
Ballota africanat has a long history of medicinal use in S. Africa. The leaves have traditionally been used for relieving severe colic and as a snakebite remedy. In combination with Salvia species, they have been used to treat fevers and measles. The early Europeans also used the leaves for this purpose, plus they used them in the same way as the European Ballota nigra to treat coughs, colds, sore throats, influenza, asthma, bronchitis, colic, typhoid fever, hysteria, and over-excitement. Modern herbalists still use an infusion of the leaves for the treatment of coughs and chest conditions. A cough syrup is made by boiling brown sugar, cloves, lemon juice and water with a few sprigs of the plant[
The traditional use of making a brandy tincture with the leaves is still popular in S. Africa today, especially for the treatment of haemorrhoids. A single tot taken in the evening is said to be a good treatment for colds and influenza, asthma, bronchitis, hoarseness, heart trouble, hysteria, insomnia, typhoid fever, headaches, liver problems, piles and as a foot bath for arthritis[
Seed - we have no details for this species but suggest sowing the seed in spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Division in spring[
]. Larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whilst smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well.
Cuttings of semi-ripe wood in the summer[
]. Cuttings root within two to three weeks[
]. The cuttings should not be kept too wet if they are placed in a mist unit[