Carpobrotus edulis (suurvy, sour fig, ikhambi-lamabulawo) is a popular traditional medicine with a wide variety of applications. It is also edible and is ideal for low-maintenance and water-wise gardens.
Carpobrotus edulis Monograph
This monograph contains details of Carpobrotus edulis as per the references cited below. If you can provide any additional information, photos or reliable records, or spot any errors, please leave a comment below or in The Muthi Flora of southern Africa Facebook group.
Traditional Medicinal Uses of Carpobrotus edulis
Administered to people: Used to make an enema for children and kept as a household remedy. Used to treat allergies, diabetes and sore throats. Juice from pounded leaves is used as a gargle for sore throats, Diptheria and thrush, and to treat digestive troubles, diarrhoea, and dysentery. (Hutchings et.al.)
Also applied to ringworm, severe weeping infantile eczema, burns, scalds, and applied diluted to the mouth for sprue. (Hutchings et.al.)
Fruit infusions are taken by Khoi women during pregnancy to ensure an easy birth and leaf sap is smeared over the head of a new-born child to make it nimble and strong. (Hutchings et.al.)
The leaf sap is effective against blue bottle stings when applied directly. Sap from the plant is mildly antiseptic and syrup made from the fruit is said to have laxative properties. (Hutchings et.al.)
Edible: The fruit is sourish in taste and is eaten raw, preserved, dried and as a jam. It also makes a first-class syrup. (Fox and Norwood Young)
Carpobrotus edulis is an easy-to-grow succulent groundcover, ideal for low-maintenance and water-wise gardens. It is also a useful first-aid plant with edible fruits for the food garden. The sour fig is frequently cultivated as a sand binder, groundcover, dune and embankment stabilizer, and fire-resistant barrier. (PlantZAfrica)
Leaves are eaten by tortoises. Puff-adders and other snakes such as the Cape Cobra are often found in Carpobrotus clumps where they ambush the small rodents that are attracted by the fruits. Flowers are pollinated by solitary bees, honey bees, carpenter bees and many beetle species. Flowers are eaten by antelopes and baboons. The clumps provide shelter for snails, lizards and skinks. Fruits are eaten by baboons, rodents, porcupines, antelopes and people, who also disperse the seeds. (PlantZAfrica)
Arnold. T.H., Prentice, C.A., Hawker, L.C., Snyman, E.E., Tomalin, M., Crouch, N.R. and Pottas-Bircher, C. (2002). Medicinal and magical plants of southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 13. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.
Fox, F.W., Norwood Young, M.E. (1982). Food From The Veld. Edible Wild Plants of southern Africa. Delta Books, Craighall.
Hutchings, A., Scott, A.H., Lewis, G., Cunnigham, A.B., (1996). Zulu Medicinal Plants: an inventory. University of Natal
PlantZAfrica – http://pza.sanbi.org/carpobrotus-edulis. Accessed on 2020/01/06