Being in nature and surrounded by plants is a multi-medicinal affair. Taking time out to travel; immersing in the elements to destress, decompress and detach from our everyday concerns is beneficial for the mind, body and soul. When in search of rejuvenation, we seem naturally drawn to our wild spaces, seeking space, fresh air and the untamed; a return to our roots.
Speaking of roots, Elephant’s Eye, Hwange, recently had the honour of hosting Gus Le Breton, African Plant Hunter, botanist extraordinaire and flora aficionado. A Cambridge and Yale educated ethnobotanist, and lover of the African landscape, Gus travels around Africa hunting for the medicinal properties of plants, their traditional uses within Africa, and promoting their benefits beyond our borders.
“If you are looking for a small weapon in your armoury to try and arrest the pace of ageing, one tree that could help you is the Terminalia Sericea”.
Gus introduces us to a plant which contains components of the elixir of youth – its attributes anti-ageing. A fairly common tree yet underestimated medicinally, the Silver-Leaf Terminalia is located in and around the lodge at Elephant’s Eye, Hwange. As Gus says, “If you are looking for a small weapon in your armoury to try and arrest the pace of ageing, one tree that could help you is the Terminalia Sericea”.
As the saying goes, “Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder”, and here we perhaps find the beholder is in fact the Terminalia! In the words of the African Plant Hunter, “Not only does it look beautiful, and grow abundantly in some of the driest parts of southern Africa, it also holds more than its fair share of health and beauty secrets locked up deep within”. As Gus describes the healing properties of the silver-leafed sapling, with a fully grown version in the background, a herd of impala spring past in the distance.
The age old wisdom of mother nature is certainly something we should tune into more often.
The age old wisdom of mother nature is certainly something we should tune into more often. (Perhaps she too gets her beauty from the Terminalia!) The inner beauty she embodies, and perhaps even more important than outer aesthetics, is her knowledge of healing. The terminalia not only boasts small amounts of natural botox, restoring and rejuvenating skin, but is used to treat pneumonia, eye infections, diahorrea and inflammation. A common yet powerful African plant, the terminalia brings a certain shimmer to the African bush – its distinctive silver leaves catching the light.
Travel, too, has its anti-ageing qualities. Exercising one’s curiosity, stretching ones imagination, feeding the appetite for adventure and quenching ones thirst for knowledge all help iron our the wrinkles of time – As do gin and tonics by the pool at Elephant’s Eye, Hwange!