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What are the Uses and Benefits of Pelargonium sidoides?

Pelargonium sidoides


Pelargonium sidoides is a traditional medicinal plant native to South Africa. It is used for the treatment of acute respiratory tract infections (ARIs) like cold and flu. Its common names are African geranium and South African geranium.

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Eudicots
  • Clade: Rosids
  • Order: Geraniales
  • Family: Geraniaceae
  • Genus: Pelargonium
  • Species: P. sidoides
  • Binomial Name: Pelargonium sidoides


Pelargonium sidoides widely distributed throughout the Eastern Cape, Lesotho, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Southern and South-Western Gauteng, North West such as Denmark and Russia.

Cultivation and Propagation

This herb requires a frost-free climate and good light.

This herb propagates by cutting in spring and summer.


Pelargonium sidoides have heart-shaped leaves which form a circle at the bottom of the stem. It has a velvet texture and a few short trichomes on long petioles. The flowers have five dark petals which are red to nearly black in color, two of the petals are sometimes combined. It needs grasslands with rocky soil to grow.

Medicinal Properties of Pelargonium sidoides

  • Antibacterial and antifungal properties
  • Antiviral properties
  • Antioxidant
  • Antitubercular effect
  • Analgesic effects
  • Astringent properties

Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties

Pelargonium sidoides exhibits antibacterial property against both Gram+ and Gram- bacteria. It inhibits bacterial adhesion to mucous membrane. It stimulates and modulates immunological response.

Antiviral Properties

It inhibits virus adhesion to mucous membranous cells. It gives cytoprotective effects due to increased production of IFN.


The aerial parts of the Pelargonium sidoides (flowers, leaves, etc.) have higher antioxidant properties. The presence of polyphenols and flavonoids in higher amount is responsible for the antioxidant properties in this plant.

Antitubercular Effect

Pelargonium sidoides is used to treat Tuberculosis. Various researchers states that it is assumed to have an antitubercular effect that may indirectly stimulates the immune response.

Chemical Constituents of Pelargonium sidoides

It consists of:-

  • Coumarins (7-hydroxycoumarin derivatives): Scopoletin (7-Hydroxy-6-methoxycoumarin), Umckalin (7-Hydroxy-5,6-dimethoxycoumarin), 5,6,7-Trimethoxycoumarin, 6,7,8-Trihydroxycoumarin, 6,8-Dihydroxy-7-methoxycoumarin, Fraxetin, etc.
  • Coumarin Glycosides: Magnolioside, Isofraxoside and Umckalin-7-ß-D-glucoside
  • Coumarin Sulfates
  • Phenolic and Polyphenolic Compounds: Phenolic acids, phenylpropanoids, and gallic acid-derivatives
  • Gallic Acid: Gallic acid methyl ester and Shikimic acid 3-O-gallate
  • Flavonoids: Quercetin, Taxifolin-3-O-ß-D-glucoside, Vitexin, Orientin, Isovitexin and Isoorientin
  • Proanthocyanidins or Tannins: Based on epigallocatechin and gallocatechin moieties.
  • Hydroxycinnamic Acid-Derivatives

Therapeutic Uses of Pelargonium sidoides


This herb may help to relieve the symptoms of bronchitis in both adults and children.

Common Cold

It is used to reduce the symptoms of the common cold. It also reduces the duration of a cold or sinus infection. The liquid dosages of Pelargonium sidoides improves cough and nasal problems.

Sore Throat and Swollen Tonsils

This herb may reduce the pain during swallowing caused due to sore throat and swollen tonsils.

This Herb is also Used in the following Health Conditions

  • Anemia
  • Diarrhea And Dysentery
  • Wounds
  • Fevers
  • Kidney diseases
  • Tuberculosis


Based on some studies the recommended dose for adults and children are below:

For Adults Oral Dose:

  1. For Bronchitis: 30 drops of a root extract of Pelargonium sidoides three times daily for 7 days. In tablet form, 10 to 30 mg three times a day for 7 days.
  2. For Common Cold: 30 drops three times a day for 10 days.

For Children Oral Dose:

  • For Bronchitis: 20 drops of root extract of Pelargonium sidoides three times daily for 7 days is recommended for children between 7-12 years of age. 10 drops of root extract of Pelargonium sidoides three times daily for 7 days is recommended for children for 6 years of age or less.
  • For Common Cold: 5-10 drops three times a day for 5 days.
  • For Sore Throat and Swollen Tonsils: 20 drops 3 times a day for 7 days is recommended for children between 6-10 years of age. The appropriate dose of Pelargonium sidoides depends on several factors such as patient's age, health, and several other conditions. So, it better to consult with doctor, or health care provider who is familiar to this herb.

Side Effects

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea
  • Rashes, itching, hives


This herb is contraindicated during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

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