Sceletium tortuosum also known as Kanna is an adaptogenic herb with mood-boosting properties. It has also been found to reduce anxiety and help you feel more grounded. It works as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor and stimulates vesicular monoamine transporter 2, which helps to transport neurotransmitters out of the brain. Another alkaloid, mesembrenone, has been shown to inhibit phosphodiesterase 4, which boosts energy use in the body.

1. Mood Booster

Sceletium tortuosum

Kanna extract can increase your mood, relieve stress and anxiety symptoms and boost feelings of positivity. It’s also thought to promote better sleep and improve cognitive function. In controlled studies, Sceletium tortuosum extract (also known as Kanna) has reduced anxiety and stress levels, boosted mood, and increased energy and focus. It has also been used as an anxiolytic and to treat depression.

It appears that Kanna’s natural energizing effects may be due to its ability to boost serotonin. The chemical Mesembrine in Kanna demonstrates its action as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, preventing neurons from rapidly absorbing the neurotransmitter and maintaining its activity in the brain. Additionally, it has been associated with reducing cortisol levels, which may contribute to alleviating depression and anxiety.

Zembrin, a standardized kanna extract, is studied to boost mood, cognition, relaxation, and sleep. Yet, the studies were limited and led by a doctor tied to the selling company, raising potential bias concerns.

Short-term kanna use is generally safe, but not a solution for serious depression or anxiety. Consult a psychiatrist for severe symptoms. Avoid combining kanna with MAOIs or serotonin inhibitors to prevent serotonin syndrome despite its unique effects. Moreover, exceeding a few weeks’ usage of kanna is discouraged. Opt for ingestion through capsules or enjoy it by smoking with a bong or vape device.

2. Pain Relief

Sceletium tortuosum

Kanna is an empathogenic herb that helps people feel calm and at ease. It stimulates multiple neuroreceptors, including GABA, opioid, cholecystokinin, and melatonin receptors. This allows it to help prevent pain, boost mood and lift sleep quality. It’s also been shown to reduce anxiety in clinical trials.

It serves as an excellent natural anxiety reliever and frequently finds inclusion in herbal supplements targeting stress and anxiety. It is considered effective as an anxiolytic, aiding in managing disorders related to anxiety such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. This compound exists in various forms like teas, tinctures, and capsules. The best way to use kanna is in the form of capsules because they provide a measured dose of the active compounds. Kanna Paks are easy to swallow, 40mg capsules that contain a concentrated form of kanna extract.

The main compounds in kanna are mesembrine, mesembrenone, and mesembrenol. These are collectively known as mesembrine alkaloids and have been found to be powerful antidepressants. They act by blocking the action of an enzyme called phosphodiesterase 4, or PDE4. This inhibits serotonin reuptake, allowing it to stay in the brain and body longer. It has also been found to have a strong anxiolytic effect, reducing the reactivity of the amygdala in response to fearful stimuli.

Kanna has been used as a natural way to reduce stress and anxiety in traditional cultures for thousands of years. It’s a great option for anyone who needs to find healthy ways to manage their symptoms, especially those with chronic health conditions. It’s important to talk to a doctor or naturopath before starting any new herbs, including kanna. It may interact with certain medications and herbs, so it’s important to check with them first.

3. Memory Enhancer


For centuries, people have utilized Kanna as a medicinal herb, attributing it with memory-enhancing properties. Its reputation stems from its anxiolytic effects, which effectively alleviate stress and anxiety. Reports also indicate its capability to diminish the reactivity of the brain’s amygdala, the region accountable for processing fear. This is why many people turn to this herbal plant before stressful events, such as exams or interviews.

The main active ingredient in kanna is the mesembrine alkaloids. These compounds act as natural serotonin reuptake inhibitors, increasing the amount of the mood-enhancing neurotransmitter in the brain. Mesembrenone also has phosphodiesterase 4 inhibition effects, which can boost energy levels and support cognitive function.

Laboratory and clinical trials have substantiated these advantages, providing evidence that kanna potentially extends mental health support, fostering heightened alertness, tranquility, and a balanced stress response. A study unveiled kanna’s capacity to enhance executive function and cognitive flexibility. It’s important to note that this investigation encompassed a limited participant pool, underscoring the necessity for further research to corroborate these assertions.

Kanna is safe in small doses and offers cognitive and mental benefits. Be cautious if on neurotransmitter-affecting meds like tramadol or antipsychotics. It can interact with sedatives too. Consult a doctor before using Kanna, especially when pregnant or breastfeeding.

4. Heart Health

kanna heart health

Kanna’s natural anti-inflammatory properties help to soothe inflammation in the body. This helps promote a healthy heart and alleviate symptoms of chronic inflammation conditions such as arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Kanna (Sceletium tortuosum) contains many antioxidants important for cellular health. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause damage to cells. The body’s immune system uses antioxidants to neutralize free radicals and prevent them from causing damage, so it is important to include plenty of antioxidant-rich foods in your diet.

Kanna is an energizing herb, which can boost energy levels and promote mental clarity and focus. Its alkaloid mesembrenone inhibits an enzyme called phosphodiesterase-4, which allows the brain to access more energy. This is why the San took kanna on hunting trips to lower anxiety and provide grounded energy for their long journeys.

Kanna shows promise for mood support, acting like SSRI meds such as Prozac. It boosts brain serotonin, uplifting mood and aiding depression. Kanna is available as teas, tinctures, and capsules. Hello, Kanna offers easy-to-swallow 40mg capsules with potent extract. Look for quality products with Sceletium tortuosum, standardized with key alkaloids.

5. Addiction Treatment

Addiction Treatment

Kanna’s effects are similar to psilocybin mushrooms and LSD, but it is legal in all states (except Louisiana) and doesn’t produce hallucinations. It is also non-addictive and has a low side-effect profile, making it an appealing alternative to these drugs. It also does not trigger cravings, making sticking with a treatment program easier.

The alkaloids mesembrine, mesembrenone, and mesembranol found in kanna extract are believed to act as natural serotonin reuptake inhibitors, increasing the amount of available serotonin. This may explain why kanna has mood-boosting properties and can help treat depression. One study found that Zembrin, a standardized kanna extract, was as effective at alleviating depression symptoms as the antidepressant escitalopram.

Additionally, studies show that kanna enhances cognitive function and reduces impulsive behavior. It does this by boosting activity in the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter system and stimulating receptors for opioids, cholecystokinin, and melatonin. This allows kanna to calm brain activity, relieve pain, suppress appetite, and improve sleep quality.

Finally, kanna can promote heart health by lowering blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels. It does this by activating the protein vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2), which increases the influx of certain neurotransmitters into neurons and helps regulate mood, appetite, pain relief, and sleep.

Despite its many potential benefits, it’s important to note that the research on kanna (Sceletium tortuosum) is still very early. Furthermore, it’s recommended that you consult a qualified doctor before trying any new supplement. And, if you’re taking any medication or have a pre-existing health condition, it’s best not to take kanna because it could potentially interfere with your medications.

Tim R
Meet Tim, your friendly lifestyle wordsmith and curator of everyday joys. With a passion for sharing helpful and easy-to-follow guides to meet your daily needs, I'm here to add magic to your routines. Together, let's embark on delightful literary journeys, exploring life's little pleasures, and creating cherished memories that last a lifetime!


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