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Family: Orchidaceae

Scientific name: Eulophia cucullata

Authority: (Afzel. ex Sw.) Steud.

Synonyms: Eulophia arenaria (Lindl.) Bolus, Limodorum cucullatum Afzel. ex Sw., Lissochilus amabilis Schltr., Lissochilus arenarius Lindl., Lissochilus dilectus Rchb.f.

Zulu names: amabelejongosi, uhlamvu lwabafazi, umabelejongosi, undwendweni

Other names: foxglove orchid 

Plant description: E. cucullata is an orchid that grows up to 1 m in height. It has simple and narrow leaves, seeds stored in pods, and deep pink flowers that have a prominent yellow base to the sac-like spur. It flowers mostly after a fire. The plant can be found growing in moist coastal grassland in the tropical regions of Africa


  • The roots are used to make a decoction that is taken orally to treat reproductive disorders in men such as impotence. 
  • The roots are mixed with those of Eulophia ovalis to make an infusion that is taken orally to treat reproductive disorders in women such as infertility.
  • The root infusion is typically taken by a married couple if the wife is barren.  
  • The roots are used to make a decoction that is applied as poultice to treat skin infections.
  • The roots are used to treat epilepsy. 
  • The roots are used to relieve pain.
  • The roots are used to make an emetic love charm.
  • The roots are used to make an infusion that is administered as an emetic, for inducing emesis.

Safety precaution:

Using traditional medicine responsibly can enhance your overall health and well-being. Misuse and abuse can lead to complications. You can inquire about the correct use of traditional medicine from a knowledgeable herbalist and practitioner. You can also visit or email: to learn more about traditional medicine

References and further reading: 

  • Bryant, A.T., 1966. Zulu medicine and medicine-men. Struik, Cape Town.
  • Chinsamy, M., Finnie, J.F. and Van Staden, J., 2014. Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cholinesterase activity and mutagenicity of South African medicinal orchids. South African Journal of Botany, 91, pp.88-98.
  • Foden, W. and Potter, L. 2005. Eulophia cucullata (Afzel. ex Sw.) Steud. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2023/05/05
  • Gerstner, J., 1941. A preliminary check list of Zulu names of plants: With short notes. Bantu studies..
  • Hulme, M.M., 1954. Wild flowers of Natal. Shuter & Shooter. Pietermaritzburg.
  • McAlister, B.G. and Van Staden, J., 1998. In vitro culture of Eulophia species. South African journal of botany, 64(4), pp.264-266.
  • Pant, B., 2013. Medicinal orchids and their uses: Tissue culture a potential alternative for conservation. African Journal of plant science, 7(10), pp.448-467.
  • Raimondo, D., Staden, L.V., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. and Manyama, P.A., 2009. Red list of South African plants 2009. South African National Biodiversity Institute.
  • Watt, J.M., and Breyer-Brandwijk, M.G., 1962. Medicinal and poisonous plants of southern and eastern Africa, second edition. Livingstone, London.

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