Native to South Africa, kanna (sceletium tortuosum) has long been favored as a natural stimulant and pain reliever. In nature, this succulent “groundcover” plant has tiny, thread-like petals.
The South African Hotentot tribe was one of the most well-known societies that used Kanna. The Hotentot are known to chew kanna roots and leaves to get a feeling of euphoria, energy or relaxation. There's even evidence that prehistoric cultures used kanna too.
Also called “channa” or “kuogoed” – a word that means“chewable” – kanna is gaining popularity outside of Africa. It is available in two basic forms: fermented or unfermented.
Kanna can be used as-is or it can be aged and fermented. The fermenting process takes approximately one week. Traditionally, the kanna plant – leaves, stems and roots – would be crushed and allowed to ferment for approximately seven days. Then, it would be dried in the sun. A similar process is used today.
Fermented kanna has what most regard as a more pleasant flavor and more pleasant effects. It's also possible to blend fermented and unfermented kanna.