Kanna (Sceletium tortuosum) is a traditional medicinal herb used for centuries by the San and Khoikhoi people of Southern Africa. It can be chewed, brewed into teas, or smoked.
The mesembrine alkaloids found in kanna support serotonin reuptake inhibition, which helps to promote calmness. Choose a full-spectrum kanna supplement with standardized mesembrine potency for the most reliable results.
Improved Focus and Mental Stability
Kanna extract is found in a number of supplements designed to promote calm, improve focus, reduce stress, and enhance cognitive function. It has also been used as a spiritual aid and can help promote feelings of empathy, compassion, and connection with others. It has been known to help people let go of negative emotions like anger and resentment. In addition, it is thought to help open the heart and encourage feelings of love, joy, and gratitude.
A popular kanna supplement is Zembrin, a patented extract of Sceletium tortuosum plants that have been carefully bred to contain high levels of mesembrenone, the active alkaloid responsible for these benefits. Studies using Zembrin have shown that it can boost mood, increase focus, and improve cognitive function. It has also been used to relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and enhance sleep.
The calming effects of kanna may make it a good supplement for athletes who struggle with depression and stress. While more research is needed, one rat study found that mesembrenone had some antidepressant properties. However, it also caused side effects in the rats, including ataxia (loss of control of movement). It is important to talk to a doctor before taking any new supplements, especially powerful ones such as kanna.
In addition to the mood-boosting and focus-enhancing benefits of mesembrenone, kanna also has mild SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) qualities, which means that it can help treat symptoms of depression. It has also been shown to have ergogenic benefits, which means that it can increase energy and endurance. A 2020 study found that mesembrenone improved mental performance in humans.
It is also believed that kanna may have some pain-relieving effects. Again, more research is needed on this, but some anecdotal reports suggest that it may help with headaches, muscle aches, and joint pain.
While kanna is not as well-studied as some other supplements, most research shows that it is safe for human consumption when taken in small doses. Generally, studies involving kanna have used 25 milligrams of the plant or less, which is comparable to many other herbal supplements. The most effective dosage varies depending on the individual and their goal, so working with a naturopathic doctor or herbalist is important to determine the appropriate dose.
Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Kanna contains alkaloids that interact with the brain’s receptors, encouraging the release of neurotransmitters that promote a sense of well-being. This is why the mesembrine-rich plant has been used by indigenous communities in South Africa for centuries to ease stress and anxiety. Its mood-enhancing properties make it a natural alternative to stimulants, which can be harmful to the body and lead to addiction.
Sceletium tortuosum is also known as kanna, and it’s commonly consumed by chewing the leaves or brewing it into tea. Traditionally, it was used prior to stressful endeavors, such as long hunting trips or social gatherings. The mood-enhancing effects of kanna have been proven in scientific studies and clinical trials. It reduces stress and improves mood, increasing cognitive flexibility and executive function. It also enhances memory, boosting concentration, and may help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Another way that kanna can help relieve stress is by balancing out the amygdala in the brain, which is associated with emotional response. The amygdala’s job is to assess and process information, but when it becomes overstimulated or overexcited, it can have negative consequences, such as an inability to focus or a loss of control. Kanna helps calm the amygdala by inhibiting serotonin reuptake, which allows for higher levels of the mood-regulating neurotransmitter to be available in the brain. It also blocks an enzyme that degrades phosphodiesterase 4, which is involved in the endocannabinoid system.
A study published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology found that kanna can significantly reduce anxiety and improve mood, even in patients with chronic depression. The study also found that the participants who took a standardized kanna extract called Zembrin displayed improved cognitive flexibility, which is an indicator of increased mental agility and awareness.
While kanna can be a powerful tool for athletes, it’s important to consider other ways to reduce stress and maintain a healthy mindset. One way is to work with a licensed therapist, who can teach you helpful coping mechanisms and help you find strategies that work for you. Additionally, exercising regularly and getting plenty of sleep can also help alleviate stress and boost your mood naturally.
Increased Energy and Endurance
Kanna extract can help boost energy and endurance, enhancing your ability to work out longer and harder. In addition, it can enhance your body’s ability to recover from exercise and reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.*
The main active ingredient in kanna, mesembrenone, helps reduce stress and anxiety while also promoting alert serenity and mood stabilization.* In one study, mesembrenone reduced the reactivity of the amygdala in healthy individuals, thereby lessening their response to fearful stimuli.*
Sceletium tortuosum, the plant from which kanna is derived, has been used by indigenous San and Khoikhoi people of South Africa for centuries as a mood-enhancing herb. Traditionally, they chewed on braids of the dried plants or brewed them into teas for relief from hunger and thirst, increased energy, better concentration, and improved cognitive function.*
Today, you can find Kanna in a number of supplements, including capsules, tinctures, and teas. It’s available at most brick-and-mortar vitamin stores as well as online. Many Kanna products are formulated as a blend of plant extract and other ingredients such as amino acids, botanicals, and nutrients.*
Kanna has been studied extensively for its benefits and has a very low risk of side effects.* However, speaking with a licensed herbalist or naturopath is important before adding any new supplement to your diet. It’s especially important to know how Kanna may interact with any other herbs, medications, or supplements you’re currently taking.
When selecting a Kanna product, choose one that is free of additives and sourced from reputable companies. Choose a product tested for safety and potency, and read the label carefully to ensure you’re getting what you expect from the product. In addition, practicing good sleep hygiene (such as a consistent bedtime, blackout shades for your room, and white noise) can help you get the most benefit from your kanna supplement.* Until more research is done on kanna, you should avoid it if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.*
*This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Kanna has been shown to reduce anxiety and promote a sense of calm. It also has been found to improve sleep quality and increase cognitive function. Kanna is believed to work as a mild sedative, but more research needs to be done on this subject. Studies have shown that people who use kanna regularly perform better on a variety of cognitive tasks, including arithmetic calculations, brain teasers, and memory tests. These findings suggest that kanna could be beneficial for people with ADHD and might even help reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Unlike many psychedelic plants, like psilocybin mushrooms and LSD, kanna doesn’t produce hallucinogenic effects. This makes it a safer and more accessible option for individuals who want to explore the benefits of psychoactive compounds. Kanna is legal in most parts of the world, and it’s not classified as a controlled substance. This means that it’s much easier to find and purchase, making it a popular supplement for athletes and anyone looking to enhance mental performance.
In addition to its mood-boosting effects, kanna is also a mild sedative, which may help improve sleep and reduce stress. In fact, one study showed that the herbal remedy could significantly decrease levels of cortisol in the bloodstream after a stressful event. Kanna might also be beneficial for reducing symptoms of PTSD, but more research is needed in this area.
When choosing a kanna supplement, make sure you choose one made from high-quality ingredients and independently tested for purity and potency. Also, look for products that are free of fillers and additives. The best products are formulated by scientists and manufactured using industry-standard good manufacturing practices.
You can find kanna supplements in a variety of forms, including tinctures and brewed teas. They’re also available in capsule and gummy form. In order to ensure that you’re getting the highest quality products, look for supplements that contain standardized mesembrenone. This is the key ingredient that produces the strongest and most consistent effects.
In a tincture, the powdered plant material is soaked in alcohol to extract the alkaloids. The resulting liquid is then concentrated and bottled. Tinctures are more potent than other kanna supplements and typically deliver results faster than teas or capsules.