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How to take Kanna: The best way to ingest Sceletium tortuosum

How to Take Kanna

How to take Kanna: The best way to ingest Sceletium Tortuosum

If you're looking for a natural way to relieve everyday anxiety and stress as well as lift mood, the medicinal plant Sceletium tortuosum, better known as Kanna, might be just what you need. This powerful succulent has a long history (we’re talking centuries!) of use by the Bushmen and Khoi people of southern Africa to enhance mental and emotional well-being and today, Kanna is quickly becoming a popular ally in supporting people with their mental health across the globe.  Kanna comes in different forms so let’s explore the various ways you can take Kanna and how to best determine which method most suits your needs. 

How indigenous communities collaborate with Kanna

Kanna is native to an arid region of the African continent known as the Karoo Desert. It has several traditional uses among the indigenous Bushmen and Khoi communities of South Africa and Namibia and they consider Kanna a sacred plant. The majority of Kanna extract sold today is grown in South Africa.

Traditionally, chewing fermented Kanna leaves, stems and roots was the most common way of ingesting the plant. Since the plant material is naturally high in oxalates and thus difficult to digest, fermentation made it more palatable and easier to absorb. Traditionally, it is also insufflated or smoked. 

Forms to take Kanna

While it is possible to find Kanna plants and Kanna teas, much of Kanna on the market today is sold as an extract. Kanna extract is available in many forms, such as tinctures, capsules, elixirs, gummies and powders. Extracts have gained popularity because they make it simpler to consume bigger doses as well as standardize the products’ constituents and alkaloid content. On the other hand, the whole plant of Kanna has a fuller spectrum of phytochemicals and benefits.  We'll take a closer look at some of the most popular forms and discuss their benefits.

Taking Kanna capsules

Kanna capsules can be easily found as supplements and are a convenient way to consume the plant. Depending on the dose, it will take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to produce a felt effect that can last longer. You can find capsules in various strengths from 15mg to 50mg of Kanna extract per dose. Potency and effect will also depend on the amount and type of alkaloids present in the Kanna used. It’s important to check the percentage of alkaloids (such as mesembrine) since the number of milligrams alone is only part of the picture. The higher the amount of alkaloids the more potent the Kanna will be. Make sure your Kanna comes from a reputable source because there are a number of supplements on the market that claim to be Sceletium tortuosum but are actually a different plant altogether.

Chewing Kanna

This is, at least historically, the most popular technique of ingesting Kanna. People would chew the fermented plant material for a while and then swallow their saliva while spitting out the residue. This is still considered one of the best ways to take Kanna, as it releases the active compounds into your system slowly and efficiently and tends to allow for a longer experience 

However, chewing bitter fermented plant material certainly doesn't appeal to everyone. KA! Empathogenics created its Kanna Chew supplement to connect with how Kanna was traditionally consumed. They were specifically designed using both extract and herb so that you can still get the benefits of chewing Kanna but in a more delicious, convenient and easy to take form with a reliable dose of Kanna extract (30 mg per chew). Since these Chews are swallowed after they are chewed and are not being spit out like plant residue, they have the combined benefits of being fast-acting like a sublingual, while also having longer-lasting effects like a capsule. Chewing leads to greater bioavailability as bioactive ingredients are absorbed directly through the mucosal membrane in the mouth, and all of the plant ingredients are fully digested and absorbed via the gastrointestinal tract which contributes to its long lasting effect. The longer you have the Chew in your mouth before swallowing, the more potent and rapid the felt onset will be.  

Smoking Kanna

Kanna can be smoked to feel its benefits more immediately. The effects start after a few minutes and remain for an hour or two. The Bushmen and Khoi would traditionally chew fermented Kanna as well as smoke it. Since Kanna combines well together with cannabis, some like to smoke them together to potentiate the effects of each. Kanna also helps to reduce or eliminate the feelings of paranoia that can sometimes arise for people who smoke cannabis. Because each plant amplifies the effect of the other, it is best to use lower quantities of each to start. Smoking Kanna can be quite hard on the lungs; thus, it is not advised for anyone with respiratory problems.

Drinking Kanna tea

Another popular way to take Kanna is steeped as tea. This method of ingestion is considered one of the most relaxing ways to take Kanna, allowing your body and mind to become gradually affected by the effects of Kanna over time. The felt effect of Kanna tea tends to be more subtle than other methods of taking Kanna. Because high heat can damage Kanna’s alkaloids, do not boil your water. Instead, bring the water to a slight simmer and add the desired amount of Kanna powder or herb into the mix.

Taking Kanna sublingually

When taken sublingually, Kanna instantly enters the bloodstream through the mucous membranes in the cheek and under the tongue. You can also more finely tune your dose because you are using a dropper. When taken sublingually, the Kanna becomes highly bioavailable by avoiding first-pass liver extraction and enzymatic degradation in the gastrointestinal tract. This means that the effects of Kanna could come on faster and be stronger. They tend to last shorter than when chewed. KA! Empathogenics’ non-alcoholic Kanna Tincture is a great and delicious way to microdose Kanna together with other synergistic herbs that are handcrafted for maximum efficacy.

Insufflating Kanna

You can insufflate Kanna extract powder or ground Kanna herb. Kanna extract powder can be 10 to 40 times stronger than kanna herb powder so be sure to check which you are taking. This is the most potent way to take Kanna and may be overwhelming for some, especially those who do not have much experience with insufflation. It tends to take effect quickly and generate stimulating sensations. Be careful not to insufflate Kanna excessively as it can cause damage to your nasal passageway. It is important to note that insufflation of Kanna extract powder can be extremely dangerous for the inexperienced, because you can only safely insufflate a small amount of extract that is barely visible. Any more and there is a risk of going into serotonin syndrome. Severe cases of serotonin syndrome can lead to death. 

Using intention

No matter which form you choose to take Kanna, intention-setting is a great way to empower your experience. Intention-setting is clearly stating what you want to experience and achieve by working with Kanna. By doing so you are actively entering into a relationship with this sacred teaching plant. You’ve flipped the “on” switch to initiate a process in which you are taking responsibility. That is incredibly powerful. You are acknowledging that you are part of an interconnected web of life and asking it to support you in realizing this intention, thus empowering you to be an active creator of your own life. As with any journey there can be ups and downs and your intention is your reference point to help you recenter when the experience becomes challenging. Intention helps motivate you to get the most out of your journey to heal, grow and thrive.

Discover this ancient medicine

There's a reason this plant has been used for thousands of years. Our premium scientifically-formulated Kanna Chews and Kanna Tincture provide a reliable dose of the highest-quality Kanna with other synergistic, life-giving plants, allowing you to best experience the effects of this traditional medicine. Try KA! supplements today for an easy, convenient and delicious way to receive the full benefits of Kanna.


WARNING: Do not use Kanna or KA! products in conjunction with Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs), Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) or Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants without medical supervision by a qualified healthcare professional. If you are currently taking prescription medications or have any pre-existing medical conditions, please speak with your doctor or healthcare professional before using Kanna or KA! Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read here or on the website.

Disclaimers: Any content in this article and the KA! Empathogenics website is for educational and product information purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Information and statements regarding herbal supplements in this article and on the website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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