Black Pelargonium – Pelargonium sidoides

Black Pelargonium - Pelargonium sidoides
Black Pelargonium – Pelargonium sidoides

Common names: black pelargonium, umckaloabo (Eng); ikubalo, iyeza lesikhali (Xhosa); kalwerbossie, rabassam (Afr). 
Botanical name: Pelargonium sidoides

Family: Geraniaceae 

no known safety concerns


Widely distributed in eastern parts of the country. Dark maroon to black flowers and a large red-fleshed tuber rich in tannins, giving the astringent effect.

Likes full sun, water in summer. Propagate from seed, March to May.

Family: Geraniaceae

Plant type: ground cover

Plant-animal relations: 


Soil type: 

Soil pH: 

Propagation methods:

Conservation status: Not threatened

Uses & Benefits

Traditionally root boiled in milk for extended period. As decoction for sore throats, congestion; digestive upsets – diarrhoea, dysentery, and to support recovery from protracted dysentery. German medicine umckaloabo for bronchitis.

Plant safety: No safety concerns

Herbal tradition(s): Cape Herbal Medicine

Plant parts: tuberous rhizome

Herb actions: astringent, decongestant

Herb qualities: 

Phytochemical constituents: tannins

First-aid use: bronchitis, cough, diarrhoea, dysentery

Plant preparations: capsules, decoction, extract, powder, tincture

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