Sceletium tortuosum, commonly known as Kanna, is a natural herb. It is mainly found in the South African region but can also be sourced from other places. Africans have used Kanna for ages to cure anxiety and depression. The herb contains certain elements that trigger numbing and sleepiness. Many call it the ‘high’ effect.
Do Kanna Supplements Work?
Kanna is considered more of a herbal and natural remedy than a drug. Traditionally, people used it in powder form or tea for its relaxing effects. However, now components from the herb are extracted to make supplements. Zembrin is the most common compound obtained from the herb.
This extract is widely used as a supplement to improve mood and reduce anxiety and stress while enhancing the overall cognitive functions of the brain. Even though there is little research on whether Kanna supplements work, they do calm the brain down. Kanna supplements can also improve users’ moods and relieve pain in the body.
Benefits of Kanna Supplements
Even though the main function of Kanna is to reduce stress, it is combined with other compounds to improve the brain’s cognitive functions.
Relieving Anxiety And Stress
Anxiety relief is one of the main benefits and roles of Kanna. According to theory, Kanna has an impact on the amygdala. A study on restrained rats, with some injected with Kanna extract and others with the placebo, found that the former showed a decrease in anxiety. However, the results may be quite different for humans. 
Another small study on humans showed that adults who consumed zembrin faced a reduction in anxiety symptoms. This happens mainly because of an impact on the amygdala, which is the main processor of creating responses toward threatening stimuli. Another similar study revealed that adults consuming zembrin supplements had elevated moods compared to those who didn’t use Kanna supplements.
Even though there is no proper research on this benefit, many people claim this to be true. A study conducted on rats in 2014 showed some signs of pain relief under a Kanna extract dosage. However, we can’t be sure about the effect it may have on humans.
The Kanna herb is said to have antidepressant effects as well. Very few small studies have been conducted to research this effect. However, these small studies did reveal that users of the Kanna herb found relief from depression and even from the pain caused by it. Further research is needed to ensure the positive impact Kanna has on depression. 
Since the main function of Kanna is to calm the body and mind, it naturally induces better sleep. Many claim that using the Kanna herb and supplements gave them greater daytime energy with reduced stress levels. Users also observed a feeling of alertness and a decreased reaction time when using it. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove such claims.
The Kanna herb mainly acts as a sedative for users. However, it calms the senses and promotes sleepiness in stressed people. A study conducted in 2016 showed that using Kanna extract lowers user stress and hypertension levels. The researchers do claim that an extensive study still needs to be carried out for concrete results. 
How to Use Kanna Supplement
It may be difficult to obtain Kanna extract and supplements from stores around you. However, a common Kanna extract called Zembrin is easily available and has the same effects as Kanna supplements. As per doctors and researchers, you shouldn’t consume more than 25 to 50 milligrams of Zembrin daily. Moreover, it should be consumed for up to 6 weeks and is unsafe to use after this period.
If you are new to using Kanna or Zembrin, start with a small dosage only if your doctor recommends it. Then, increase your dosage if the doctor suggests it.
Kanna Supplement Side Effects
Since Kanna supplements are still relatively new, there is little research about the side effects they may have on humans. However, some research has shown that consuming Kanna supplements or Zembrin for a long time impacts muscle function. Some people may also feel nauseous when they begin consuming Kanna supplements.
Some argue that using Kanna may become addictive, but studies have shown otherwise. People who stopped consuming Kanna didn’t face adverse reactions or withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, breastfeeding and pregnant women shouldn’t consume Kanna supplements because their effects are unknown. If you are under any medication, you should only use Zembrin or Kanna supplements if your doctor allows it.
With limited research on the Kanna herb, it is hard to determine whether it may counteract other medications or drugs. If you are taking blood pressure and heart medication, then you should refer to your physician about consuming Kanna or Zembrin.
Kanna Supplements Dosage
Since there is no proper research on the effects of Kanna, its dosage is still unclear. However, if you are starting Kanna supplements, you should start with 25mg per day only. The maximum amount that you can consume is 50mg. An average adult human can use 420 mg of Kanna but only under their doctor’s observation.
Kanna supplements are new in the market, and very few people know about them. However, they are mainly used to suppress stress and improve mood while improving brain functions. However, you shouldn’t consume supplements or medication without your doctor’s approval.
Moreover, Kanna supplements require thorough research since people are unaware of their dosage and side effects. Many of us know Kanna as a drug. However, it carries healing and calming properties that the medical field is now utilizing.
Kanna extract has been used previously in traditional medicine to improve mood and alleviate depression. Always get a prescription from your doctor before starting a supplement, so it doesn’t create any complications.
Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.
Editorial References And Fact-Checking
- Smith, C. (2011). The effects of Sceletium tortuosum in an in vivo model of psychological stress. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 133(1), 31-36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2010.08.058
- Smith C. (2011). The effects of Sceletium tortuosum in an in vivo model of psychological stress. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 133(1), 31–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2010.08.058
- Swart, A., & Smith, C. (2016). Modulation of glucocorticoid, mineralocorticoid and androgen production in H295 cells by Trimesemine™, a mesembrine-rich Sceletium extract. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 177, 35-45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2015.11.033