Bulbine natalensis – Rooiwortel

Family: Asphodelaceae


Indigenous to South Africa, particularly present in KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape, Bulbine natalensis grows in hot, dry, stony/rocky areas and resembles an aloe. It is a fast-growing, hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant, succulent plant with bright-green, soft, fleshy leaves. The long, thin stem flowers throughout the year into densely-packed yellow, star shaped flowers. The pollen and nectar-rich flowers attract a variety of pollinating insects.

Herb uses

Bulbine natalensis is mostly known for its aphrodisiac qualities. The root is taken orally to increase testosterone levels, sexual stamina and increase fertility. It has recently started being used to increase muscle mass. Various studies on rats have noted that at particular doses, it has increased testosterone and decreased estrogen levels. Due to its ability to assist the rate of healing, the leaf sap is used topically for skin ailments like cracked lips, burns, rashes, itching, ringworm, stings, bites, herpes and mouth ulcers. The aqueous extract of the leaves as well as the root is used for intestinal issues (such as diarrhea, vomiting and convulsions) and has reported anti-diabetic and anti-rheumatoid properties.

Common Names: ingcelwane (Xhosa); rooiwortel (Afrikaans); ibhucu (isiZulu