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Family name: Rhamnaceae

Scientific name: Helinus integrifolius

Authority: (Lam.) Kuntze.

Synonyms: Helinus ovatus E.Mey. ex Sond., Helinus scandens (Eckl. & Zeyh.) A.Rich.

Zulu names: ubhubhubhu, ubulawu obude, uphuphuphu

Other names: soap bush (English) seepbos (Afrikaans) phelotheri (Sotho)

Short description: H. integrifolius is a climbing shrub with broadly ovate leaves, greenish-yellow flowers with an umbel inflorescence, and capsular fruits containing shiny black seeds. It occurs in the bushland, forest, and grassland habitats.


The Zulu name “ubhubhubhu” means “frothing up“.

The plant gets the name ubhubhubhu because the when the plant is added to water and stirred it causes the mixture to “froth up”.

Related uses: The plant is use to make an emetic that is taken to induce lucid & vivid dreaming. The plant is used as a bathing agent / soap. The roots are mixed with Vangueria infausta to treat infertility in women. The plant is used to prepare umuthi omhlophe.

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