Botanical name: Sceletium tortuosum
Other names: Sceletium, Kougoed

Established 1996.

We are proud to be not just for profit and activists for plant freedom.


Status message

Active context: herbpage


IMPORTANT NOTE: The Happy Herb Company does not invite reliance upon, nor accept responsibility for, the information provided here. The Happy Herb Company makes every effort to provide a high quality information for educational and entertainment purposes however neither The Happy Herb Company nor any of its affiliates give any guarantees, undertakings or warranties concerning the accuracy, completeness or up-to-date nature of the information provided. Users should confirm information and seek medical advice. 

Kanna (aka Kougoed or Sceletium) is a succulent plant from South Africa that has been used for centuries for its mood-enhancing effects. The dried and fermented plant material was traditionally chewed as a ‘quid’, smoked or used as a snuff. It can also be brewed as a tea.

The mood-elevating action of sceletium is caused by a number of alkaloids including mesembrine, mesembrenol and tortuosamine which interact with the brain's dopamine and serotonin receptors. Mesembrine is a major alkaloid present in Sceletium. Mesembrine has been demonstrated to be a potent serotonin-uptake inhibitor (SRI). SRIs are most often used as anti-depressants, as they increase the extracellular concentrations of seratonin (the ‘happy hormone’).

Smoking or chewing Kanna gives a buzzy euphoric feeling, which gently fades into relaxation. Brewed as a tea it uplifts mood, relaxes stress and anxiety. According to anecdotal reports, it can potentiate the effects of other substances.

According to sceletium.org, Kanna is being used by some psychiatrists, psychologists and doctors with excellent results to treat anxiety and depression.

Rays Rave: 

Despite its bitter taste, chewing on a 'quid' of Sceletium is well worth the experience of short-lasting euphoria! For longer-term effects, best drink a heaped teaspoon 3 times the first day and again the following morning to feel its more lasting benefits. Some enjoy smoking it, especially as a mull mix, for its buzzy effects.

Precautions / Contraindications: 

Some may occasionally experience mild headaches, slight nausea, soft stools and insomnia. Avoid if taking antidepressants or other psychiatric drugs.

Ray Thorpe, Happy High Herbs (2001), p 60.