Sutherlandia frutescens (cancer bush, balloon pea, or sutherlandia; syn. Colutea frutescens L., Lessertia frutescens (L.) Goldblatt & J.C.Manning) is a southern African legume which has traditionally been used as an indigenous medicine for a variety of ailments.
It is a shrub with bitter, aromatic leaves. Red-orange flowers appear in spring to mid-summer.
Sutherlandia frutescens is a small bush growing up to about 1m high. It is native to dry parts of southern Africa, preferring full sun but tolerant of a wide variety of soil types. It is a tough plant, hardy, fast growing and drought tolerant but short lived. Seeds germinate readily in around 2 to 3 weeks and established plants self-seed readily. Seedlings may be vulnerable to damping off, but provided it is in well drained soil, it grows readily and is not very vulnerable to pests.
An infusion made from the leaves is a traditional remedy said to treat fever, chicken pox, flu, rheumatism, hemorrhoids, diarrhea, and stomach and liver problems.
Sutherlandia frutescens has been promoted as useful to people with HIV/AIDS, but there is no evidence of benefit, and it interacts adversely with conventional drugs used, such as antiretroviral drugs.
- "Sutherlandia frutescens information from NPGS/GRIN". www.ars-grin.gov. Retrieved 2008-03-03.
- "Sutherlandia frutescens". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
- Ojewole, JA (2004). "Analgesic, antiinflammatory and hypoglycemic effects of Sutherlandia frutescens R. BR. (variety Incana E. MEY.) Fabaceae shoot aqueous extract". Methods and Findings in Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology 26 (6): 409–16. PMID 15349136.
- Phakamani M' Afrika Xaba & Alice Notten (April 2003). "Sutherlandia frutescens". Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.
- Johnson, Q; Syce, J; Nell, H; Rudeen, K; Folk, WR (2007). "A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of Lessertia frutescens in healthy adults". PLoS Clinical Trials 2 (4): e16. doi:10.1371/journal.pctr.0020016. PMC 1863514. PMID 17476314.
- Mills, Edward; Cooper, Curtis; Seely, Dugald; Kanfer, Izzy (2005). "African herbal medicines in the treatment of HIV: Hypoxis and Sutherlandia. An overview of evidence and pharmacology". Nutrition Journal 4: 19. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-4-19. PMC 1156943. PMID 15927053.
- Müller, AC; Kanfer, I (2011). "Potential pharmacokinetic interactions between antiretrovirals and medicinal plants used as complementary and African traditional medicines". Biopharmaceutics & Drug Disposition 32 (8): 458–70. doi:10.1002/bdd.775. PMID 22024968.
- Mills, E; Foster, BC; Van Heeswijk, R; Phillips, E; Wilson, K; Leonard, B; Kosuge, K; Kanfer, I (2005). "Impact of African herbal medicines on antiretroviral metabolism". AIDS 19 (1): 95–7. doi:10.1097/00002030-200501030-00013. PMID 15627040.