Kanna has been used by South African indigenous tribes for generations to ease anxiety, boost mood, and improve focus. While there is some evidence that it may also reduce depression and relieve pain, further research is needed to confirm these claims. In some people, it may also act as a mild sedative, promoting a sense of calm or sleepiness.*
Kanna uses contains mesembrine alkaloids that interact with receptors in the brain to enhance mood and promote relaxation. These alkaloids also inhibit the action of a certain enzyme (phosphodiesterase 4) in the amygdala, which helps control emotions.* Combined with its impact on serotonin, kanna may help to support emotional balance, which is often a challenge in our busy world.
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Sceletium tortuosum is a succulent plant native to South Africa, where it has been used as an herbal remedy for centuries. It was traditionally consumed as a dried powder that was chewed and swallowed, but is now available in extracts and teas for easier consumption. The extract is also sometimes added to smokable mixtures with other plants like damiana and blue lotus flowers for more intense, psychoactive effects.
Kanna is often marketed as an all-natural, legal alternative to party drugs that can induce feelings of euphoria and reduce stress. It is sometimes described as a “mood-brightener” that can make people feel less anxious and inhibited, but it is unlikely to cause a feeling of intoxication. Unlike MDMA, which can be dangerous to mental health, kanna appears to have mood-brightening benefits without the risk of addiction or dependency.