Is Sceletium Tortuosum (Kanna) a Natural Appetite Suppressant?
by Aaron Cadena on Aug 23, 2021
Before the colonization of South Africa, people indigenous to the region chewed a fermented herb to help relieve feelings of hunger, thirst, or pain. This herb, a type of succulent called sceletium tortuosum, is known by several names today. One of those is “Kanna.” Modern research has confirmed kanna can have positive effects like decreasing stress levels. Additionally, there’s some information suggesting kanna may be a natural appetite suppressant.
What is Kanna?
Found only in South Africa, kanna plants feature lush green stalks crowned with white and yellow flowers, similar to a daisy. It’s so common to the region that 18th-century colonists noted indigenous people called the area “Kannaland.” These people fermented the herb and chewed on the resulting pulp to activate its effects. Today, kanna is available in several forms including dried powders, tea bags, tinctures, and more. The herb is completely legal under US drug laws, which classify it as a nutritional supplement. As a result, kanna is readily available in nutrient shops and online.
Kanna and Appetite
Millions of people worldwide grapple with excessive weight and obesity. According to the CDC, nearly three our of every four Americans over the age of 20 are overweight, and one in every five are obese. Millions more suffer from eating disorders that can desensitize their appetites to feeling full.
Nearly every case of excessive weight stems from lack of exercise, poor appetite control, or both. Kanna has historically been used to help regulate that second factor. Anecdotal evidence from early South African colonists states that indegous people used kanna to help banish hunger during long days shepherding flocks of cattle. While this may sound like folk medicine to some, there is scientific evidence supporting kanna’s link to appetite.
How Kanna Works
Kanna plants naturally develop seven unique organic compounds, called mesembrine alkaloids, that aren’t found anywhere else in chemistry. These compounds have several effects on the brain, one of which makes kanna a possible appetite suppressant.
Studies show that kanna’s active ingredients bind to cholecystokinin-1 receptors in the brains of mammals, which control hunger impulses. Researchers believe that eating disorders like bulimia nervosa are linked to cholecystokinin deficiency. Over time, individuals suffering from eating disorders deregulate how cholecystokinin affects their appetite. This essentially numbs the victim to feeling full. By activating these receptors, kanna can help users satiate their appetite.
Is Kanna Right for You?
If you need a natural approach to appetite suppression, consider trying kanna. Doctors generally consider kanna to be safe. It has no side-effects on humans in dosages up to 6 mg per pound of body weight. Some users may experience nausea when they first try the herb, but this usually disappears after a few doses.
While there may be many users who can benefit from the effects of kanna, it’s not right for everyone. Make sure you consult a doctor before you try kanna if you’re currently taking any medications including MAOIs, SSRIs, and SNRIs. In addition, women who are pregnant or nursing should avoid using kanna.
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Thank you for reading our latest guide! We hope that it helped to inform you about the potential benefits of kanna! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop a message for us in the comments!