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Adenia gummifera – Impinda

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Family: Passifloraceae

Scientific name: Adenia gummifera

Authority: (Harv.) Harms

Common names: impindamshaye (Zulu), green vine (English), bobejaangif (Afrikaans)

In almost every situation, when a person is provoked, they can respond in one of two ways:

  • Turn the other chick – refrain from retaliating when provoked.
  • Fight fire with fire – return an offence back to the offender. 

There are some situations in life that call for a person to turn the other chick and some that call for a person to retaliate. However, retaliation is one of those things that should be done with caution because some people provoke others in order to bait them, in Zulu this is known as ukucupha. Ukucupha is when a person set a trap for another by provoking them into a reaction.

If you ever find yourself being trapped into a reaction. The only way to win is by turning the other cheek. Trying to win by retaliation will require you to either stoop to their low or go even lower. It is human nature to want to fight back when provoked, but some battles are just not worth winning, especially when the cost is too high to bear.   


There’s nothing wrong with defending yourself when provoked. But defending and retaliating are two different things:

  • Defending yourself means to protect yourself.
  • Retaliating means to seek revenge.

Let’s suppose you discover that someone is doing spell work on you. You can either hire a spiritual hitman to retaliate on your behalf or you can pray, have faith, and trust that “vengeance belongs to God, and he will repay”. The former is seeking revenge while the latter is protecting yourself.

The main problem with retaliation is that there are some people who literally have nothing to lose, and they wouldn’t mind destroying themselves just to inflict pain on others.  

The plant, impindamshaye, is used to either defend against witchcraft provocations or to retaliate against them. It all depends on how you use the plant.  

The common name impindamshaye is a Zulu word that means “return back to sender” in English. It is what a person uses to return witchcraft provocations back to sender. It is similar to the Wicca practice of burning a black candle, staring into the flame, and chanting return back to sender. Though candle magic does work, it requires the person using it to have faith in order to work. The plant, on the other hand, is effective across the board.   

Plant description

Impindamshaye is scientifically known as Adenia gummifera. The genus name Adenia is derived from the word aden. Aden was the plant’s Arabic name as reported by Peter Forsskål, a Swedish naturalist and author of the genus. The Adenia genus has about 100 species and it’s said that the species of this genus are very difficult to identify and distinguish. The most interesting thing about this genus is that its species have been used as fish poison. The toxicity of the poison in the species is due to the combination of a highly toxic protein called modeccin, and cyanogenic glycosides. The species name gummifera is Latin for producing resin and refers to the resin that oozes from the plant. 

Adenia gummifera is said to resemble other types of Adenia. For example, Adenia gummifera in many respects is said to resemble Adenia cissampeloides, the resemblance is so uncanny that some books, such as The Handbook of African Medicinal Plants by Maurice M. Iwu, have recorded these plants as being synonymous with one another. The book recognizes Adenia gummifera as the synonym for Adenia Cissampeloides. Nevertheless, when you examine the leaves of the two plants, they don’t look the same. But then again, the difference could be an adaptation feature. It is possible for the same plant to look different in different environments due to the need to adapt to the environment that it finds itself in. 

A. gummefera is a woody climber (vine) with a thick bright green stem and lobed leaves. It occurs naturally throughout Africa and has been found growing in a wide range of habitats including on rocky slopes, forest margins, savanna, woodlands, and bushland.


The roots, stem, and leaves of A. gummefera are used by different groups of people for a range of magical and medicinal purposes.

  • In South Africa, A. gummefera is used to treat melancholy or depression. African traditional medicine views melancholy as a spiritual disease. Sadness is a feeling because it is fleeting (it doesn’t last for a long time) and usually has an underlying reason for its manifestation. However, melancholy or depression is not a feeling, because it is persistent and often has no discernable reason for its manifestation. To treat melancholy with A. gummefera, make an infusion with the plant’s leaves, roots, and stem, that is taken orally. The infusion works by helping you let release the torment that’s caused by the spiritual provocation or witchcraft. Witchcraft works by causing torment (or a burden) on a person’s life. When you consume A. gummefera, the infusion cleanses and purifies you and removes the burden. When you are no longer burdened, then witchcraft no longer has a hold on you. And since it no longer has a hold on you, you can return it back to the sender. In Mark 3:27, there is a parable about a robber who comes to rob a strong man’s house. According to the parable, the robber is able to rob the strong man’s house because the robber tied up the strong man. When tied up the strong man feels powerless, and it is this feeling of helplessness that cripples him and creates an avalanche of burdens that sends him on a downward spiral. When untied, the burden is removed. Untying the strong man frees him up to fight the robber and because he is a strong man, he wins the fight. This is exactly how witchcraft works. For witchcraft to work in your life, it must first tie you up. Witchcraft can tie you up with depression, illness, fear, doubt, loss, etc. Once you are tied then it starts wreaking all sorts of havoc in your life. The plant simply unties you. It removes the burden so you can fight the robber. In the case of the strong man there are two ways of fighting the robber. The strong man can call the police and have the robber arrested for trespassing or the strong man can take the law into his hands and baptize the robber with an unholy spirit. Calling the police is equivalent to turning the other cheek, the second option is equivalent to retaliation. 

When using A. gummefera you also have two options. When the burden is removed, you can command whatever was causing you burdens to go back to the sender. But even when you don’t command witchcraft to go back, the fact that it is no longer causing you pain means that it is no longer serving a purpose in your life, and it will automatically go back to sender. You can only command or exercise authority when the power dynamics are in your favour. When you are tied up and helpless, you cannot command anything. Think about it in terms of the parable – you cannot tell a robber to get out of your house when you are tied up and helpless on the floor.   

The other option is to also create your own mixture of burdens and return them together with what was sent to you. People who use this second option often justify it by saying, they don’t want the instigator to “try” them ever again. Quoting the line: “I’m not the one who started this, but I will be the one who finishes it”.

  • Countries like South Africa, Tanzania, Malawi, and Kenya use A. gummefera to return witchcraft provocations back to the sender. One of the simplest ways to use A. gummefera is by first drying the stem then burning it while speaking and commanding the witchcraft to return back to the sender. 
  • In South Africa and Tanzania, the plant is used as a charm to a make a person likable to others and to treat nausea. To treat nausea an infusion is made using the leaves and stems that is then taken orally. To make a person likable, the roots, stem, and leaves are used to make an infusion that is taken orally. 
  • In Tanzania, the plant is used to treat pain, scabies, and colic. Colic is when a baby or an adult cry more than usual. Adults may cry excessively due to emotional issues or head injuries. In babies, excessive crying may be due to fatigue, nightmares, and insomnia. Pain is treated by making a root decoction that is taken orally. Scabies is treated by making a root decoction that is applied topically or directly on the skin. In Tanzania, it is also used to treat hydrocele (a condition where the scrotum is swollen due to fluid accumulation in the sheath surrounding a testicle) and oral candidiasis. Oral candidiasis is treated with a root and stem decoction that is taken orally. 
  • In Tanzania and Kenya, the plant is used to treat anaemia and snake bite. Anaemia is treated with a root decoction that is taken orally. Snakebite is treated with a root decoction that is applied topically.
  • In Kenya, the plant is used to treat fibroids and headaches. To treat fibroids, make a decoction using the root and stem bark that is taken orally. 
  • In South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, and Mozambique the plant is used to treat infertility. To treat infertility, make a decoction from the leaves, roots, and stem that is taken orally.
  • In South Africa, Kenya, and Mozambique the plant is used to treat respiratory infections such as chest pains, colds, cough, and tuberculosis. The roots and stem can be used to make a decoction that is taken orally. 
  • In Kenya and Mozambique, the plant is used to treat wounds. The leaves, roots, and stem are used to make a decoction that is applied topically. In Mozambique, it is used to treat parasitic worms by making a root decoction that’s taken orally. 
  • In Mozambique and the DRC, the plant is used to induce labour. To induce labour the leaves, roots, and stem are made into a decoction that’s taken orally.
  • In the DRC, the plant is used to treat diabetes by making a decoction with the stem and bark that’s then taken orally. 
  • In Zimbabwe, the plant is used to treat sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as gonorrhoea, a painful uterus, and madness. To treat STDs, the roots are mixed with those of isihlaba makhondlwane (scientifically known as Dicoma anomala Sond.). To treat a painful uterus, a root infusion is made that is taken orally. 
  • Zimbabwe and Malawi use the plant to treat inflammation. To treat inflammation, the roots can be made into a decoction that’s applied topically. 
  • In South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Malawi the plant is used to treat gastro-intestinal problems such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, and stomachache. To treat these gastro-intestinal problems, the roots can be made into a decoction that is taken orally.  
  • South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi use the plant to treat STDs, such as gonorrhoea, and Tuberculosis (TB). To treat gonorrhoea, add a handful of chopped roots are mixed with a handful of chopped leaves and stem of iphakama (scientifically known as Erianthemum dregei), and a handful of the stem of umavumbuka (scientifically known as Sarcophyte sanguinea) in 10 litres of water for 5 hours. Take half a cup of the liquid twice a day to treat gonorrhoea. To treat TB, boil freshly cleaned roots in water and take a quarter of a cup of the liquid thrice a day. 
  • South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Eswatini use the plant to treat leprosy by making a decoction from the roots that is taken orally.  
  • South Africa, Mozambique, and Eswatini they use the plant to treat malaria by making a decoction using the leaves and roots that is taken orally. 
  • South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Eswatini use the plant to make an emetic for inducing emesis. To make the emetic, fruits, and roots are used to make a decoction that is taken orally. 

    Impindamshaye is a powerful plant with a number of medicinal and magical uses. Besides treating physical ailments, the plant is also used to cleanse the home by drying and burning the stem. The home can also be cleansed by making a decoction that is sprinkled around the home. 

Learn about some of the concepts covered in this article, including: Umavumbuka (Sarcophyte sanguinea) | Discover other concepts such as Indabulaluvalo (Kalanchoe paniculata), Induced emesisi – Ukuphalaza, and Traditional medicines

Safety precaution:

The use of traditional medicine in prescribed dosages will yield good results. Misuse and abuse may lead to complications. To learn about correct dosage, consult a traditional healer or a herbalist. You can also visit or email: to learn more about traditional medicine. 

Impindamshaye (Adenia gummifera) – Return back to sender plant

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