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Tomjachu Bush Retreat – As Mother Nature prescribed it


Pristinely located within the Crocodile Valley Nature Conservancy, Tomjachu Bush Retreat’s 550 hectare nature reserve overlooks the Lowveld’s stunning Bekker Mountains and is alive with lush flora and fauna. A journey through Tomjachu’s bushveld unveils some of Mother Nature’s most prized possessions.

Along the tracks and hiking trails winding through the beautiful mountainous reserve, you can find several useful trees which are renowned for their uses in ancient cultural traditions, for food, and even for their medicinal attributes. Medicinal trees possess similar properties to conventional pharmaceutical drugs and have played a vital role in local cultures for hundreds, even thousands of years for the treatment and cure of various illnesses and ailments. Some such trees which occur on the Tomjachu reserve include; the Magic Guarri, Candelabra Euphorbia and the Silver Cluster-leaf tree, which are known here as ‘The Dentistrees’.
The Euclea divinorum Hiern, also known as the Magic Guarri, is an evergreen shrub that grows up to 9m high and has a number of uses. The roots are used medicinally for the treatment of toothache, headache, convulsions, diarrhoea, infertility, bilharzia and as a purgative. It is famed as the toothbrush tree, as the frayed ends of the branches resemble, and can be used, like a modern day toothbrush. Ancient folklore has it that The Magic Guarri should not be burnt as it possesses supernatural powers, and is often hung above the doorway of a house as a good luck charm.

Growing up to 7m tall, the Euphorbia Ingens commonly referred to as Candelabra Euphorbia has conspicuous candelabra-like branches and contains a milky latex which is toxic to humans and animals, and can cause severe skin irritations and blindness, and even death if ingested. The nectar is also poisonous, so much so that if too much is used by bees to make their honey, it can burn the inside of the throat when eaten. However, if correctly applied it can be used in the treatment of severe tooth cavities and ulcers.

The leaves and roots of the Terminalia sericea or Silver Cluster-leaf tree have been used for decades as a traditional cough, diarrhoea and stomach ache remedy. If you happen to cut yourself, a paste can be made by cooking the leaves in water and placing them directly on the wound to stem the flow. The leaves have naturally occurring antibiotic properties and also act as a natural anaesthetic. Chewing a small bunch of the leaves for a few minutes leads to numbness in the mouth, making it the perfect remedy for toothaches!

All these wonderful trees, amongst many others, can be found whilst enjoying a relaxed bush walk, picnic, game drive or thrilling mountain biking expedition at Tomjachu Bush Retreat. Tomjachu’s professional guide is also available onsite for those looking to delve a little deeper into the distribution and habitat of the huge variety of plant species on the reserve.

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