(Health Secrets) In the Bible, the oleander plant is referred to as the desert rose. Perhaps the name given this remarkable plant was no coincidence. Those of you who have read Dan Brown`s entertaining combination of fact and fiction, “The Davinci Code”, or who otherwise know a bit about pagan and early Christian religion will know that the rose is one of the most powerful of all religious symbols in pagan and early Christian religion and literature. It stands quite literally for nothing less than the feminine half of God, or the Goddess as that entity was called. It was also a symbol for very powerful healing.
Medicinal use of the oleander plant dates back at least 3500 years. Historical records show that the Mesopotamians in the 15th century B.C. believed in the healing properties of oleander. The Babylonians used a mixture of oleander and licorice to treat hangovers. Pliny, the Elder of ancient Greece, wrote about the appearance and properties of oleander. Arab physicians first used oleander as a cancer treatment in the 8th century A.D.
Centuries later, in the 1633 edition of The Herbal, or General History of Plants, the author John Gerard indicates knowledge that the raw plant is poisonous, but extracts of the plant were used medicinally. And an oleander extract, much like oleander soup, is most likely the magic healing potion that led to the witchcraft accusation against Rebecca, the beautiful Jewish woman from the Holy Land, in Sir Walter Scott`s Ivanhoe.
In recent centuries, oleander has continued to be used in folk remedies and in commercial preparations in the Middle East, Russia, China and the South American rain forest. Currently, a Brazilian manufacturer is making and distributing an amazing supplement called OPC Extract worldwide, and the patent holder in South Africa, Marc Swanepoel, is making the supplement as well and using it, along with doctors and caregivers, with remarkable success against HIV and cancer.
Although much of the recent focus on oleander has centered on cancer, HIV, and hepatitis-C, uses based on tradition or theory have included:
Abnormal menstruation, alcoholism, anorexia, anti-fertility, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, asthma, bacterial infections, cachexia (weight loss/wasting from some diseases), cardiac abnormalities, cathartic, corns, diuretic (increase urine flow), epilepsy (seizure), eye diseases, heart disease, hemorrhoids, indigestion, inflammation, insecticide, leprosy, malaria, menstrual stimulant, neurologic disorders, pregnancy termination, psoriasis, psychiatric disorders, rat poison, ringworm, sinus problems, snake bites, skin diseases, skin eruptions, swelling, venereal disease, vomiting, warts, weight gain. (Source: MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health)
Thanks to a Texas attorney and others, a growing number of people around the world are now able to make their own oleander remedy. In the concluding installments, we will see how effectively oleander is being used against cancer and HIV in South Africa, and how to make your own oleander extract for just pennies.
More Background Information on the Oleander Plant
An excerpt from “History of the Oleander in America…” By Way of Galveston:
The first Oleanders came to subtropical Galveston in 1841. Joseph Osterman, a prominent merchant, brought them aboard his sailing ship from Jamaica to his wife and to his sister-in-law, Mrs. Isadore Dyer. Mrs. Dyer found them easy to cultivate and gave them to her friends and neighbors. The familiar double pink variety that she grew has been named for her. Soon these new plants were growing throughout the city.
As early as 1846, note was taken of the yards in Galveston with oleanders and roses in full bloom and the contribution they made to the beauty of the city. Oleanders flourished in these early days of the city and were able to withstand the subtropical weather, the alkaline soil, and the salt spray. Therefore, it was logical for oleanders to be chosen as one of the predominant plants to be used in the replanting of the city following the destruction of the 1900 hurricane and grade raising that covered the existing vegetation with sand.
Concerned ladies of the city soon organized the Women`s Health Protective Association with the mission to beautify the island and improve the health conditions of the city. They planted along Broadway, the entrance to the city, and on 25th Street, the path to the beach front. In a few years, oleanders made a spectacular display of blooms for citizens and visitors.
Planting continued for many years up and down city streets, in parks, in yards, around public buildings and schools and soon the whole city became a garden of oleanders. As early as 1908, an editorial in the Galveston Tribune observed that the oleanders were emblematic of Galveston and that people came from all over to see them. In 1910, the Galveston Daily News reported that Galveston was known throughout the world as “The Oleander City” and in 1916, an article named it one of the most beautiful cities in the South.
Through the pollination of the two original Galveston Oleanders, named Mrs. Isadore Dyer and Ed Barr, many hybrids have occurred throughout the century. Many of these were distributed all over the United States and, today, are growing everywhere the climate is amicable. Today, corals, yellows, reds, pinks and whites in singles and double forms are found in the warmer climates of America.
For more information: