Agapanthus africanus

Common Name

Lily of the Nile, African Lily (UK)


Saponins and sapogenins in the furostane and spirostane types, including steroid spirostan and agapanthegenin sapogenins.
Anthycyanin is what gives colour to the flowers.

Medicinal Uses

The leaves of a Lily of the Nile contain a substance that acts as an oxytocic, meaning it causes the uterus to contract, therefore it is put to use in hastening childbirth and thus should be avoided by anyone who wishes to remain pregnant.

It can be made use of as a cardiac tonic, however, other herbs, such as Foxglove and Ephedra are more effective.

As an anti-fungal, the rhizomes of this plant are effective against Trichophyton mentagrophytes, which is a fungus that eventually causes the human disease known as the Malabar itch. It also fights against Sporothrix schenckii, which is a fungus that grows on roses; humans most often acquire the fungus by being pricked by an infected thorn.

By enlisting the help of the saponins within the plant, you can use it as an anti-inflammatory. The leaves have been used as bandages, allowing the saponins to seep into the skin, lending the anti-inflammatory effects.

When suffering from hypertension, an extract of the leaves will help in the lowering of your blood pressure.

As an expectorant, this plant aids you when you are suffering from a cold, or any ailment that may leave phlegm in the lungs, by helping you to expel it.


Love ("agape" is Greek for love), Mars

Magical Uses

Agapanthus is used as an aphrodisiac in some African tradition, and may also be used as a fertility charm and carried by pregnant women to protect and ensure the health of a growing fetus.

Toxicity of Agapanthus

Agapanthus should not be used internally unless under close professional supervision. The leaves contain a caustic sap that can cause skin irritation if handled and serious mouth ulcers if ingested and the rhizomes/roots are toxic to people and animals.

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