“If it looks like a deformed limb, it can be used to cure a deformed limb”. So says the Doctrine of Signatures, first elaborated by the ancient Greek physician Dioscorides. Sure enough, throughout Africa, the bizarre-looking Octopus Cabbage Tree, Cussonia arborea, has been used to treat leprosy, physical deformities and even, allegedly, amputation. In this episode, Gus, the African Plant Hunter, delves into a few of the myths and stories behind this extraordinary tree. He also reveals some of the compounds that have brought it to the attention of the modern day pharmaceutical industry as a treatment for diabetes and autoimmune diseases.
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