Sutherlandia is regarded as one of the most beneficial medicinal plants in Southern Africa, with the leaves having been used by diverse cultural groups since traditional times for medicinal purposes. The plant is a highly effective adaptogen, as it helps the immune system to adapt to stress and disease. Its most common uses are to stimulate the appetite in severely ill and emaciated patients, and in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes (as it stabilizes and regulates blood sugar levels).
Sutherlandia can also be used in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome, ME syndrome, viral hepatitis, asthma, bronchitis and flu, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, peptic ulcers, urinary tract ailments and liver conditions
The principle active ingredients in sutherlandia frutescens include L-Canavanine (a non-protein amino acid thought to have anti-viral and anti-cancer properties), pinitol (an anti-diabetic agent that is used in the treatment of wasting syndrome in cancer and AIDS patients) and GABA (a neuro-transmitter that reduces anxiety and depression, promoting a sense of well being).