With its origin in South Africa, the Aizoaceae family is a form of succulent common in the country’s arid landscapes, particularly in the Namaqualand region. It is a climbing, or creeping plant with slender branches that become woody in maturity and its flowers are white, pale yellow or pale pink that grow to around 20-30mm. The fruit is 10-15mm in diameter and tend to open when wet.
Historically, Sceletium has been used extensively as a traditional medicine in South Africa. The plant is consumed for its suggested benefits in enhancing mood, causing relaxation and inducing euphoria. For centuries the leaves and roots have been fermented and then chewed as a means of consumption. Sceletium can also be smoked and made into teas and tinctures. It is considered to have psychoactive properties as a result of the alkaloid distribution within the plant, predminantly mesembrine, mesembranol and mesembranone. The plant is considered safe for how long it has been consumed by humans and there is much literature concerning Sceletium and its believed benefits. There is however a lack of clinical trials that can give final resolution as to its toxicity and functional benefits.