South African mood lifting plant to go on sale

JOHANNESBURG – For hundreds of years, indigenous South Africans have chewed a plant which they say reduces stress, relieves hunger, sedates and elevates moods. On Friday, South African researchers obtained the first license to study and market it, and say they want to develop it to sell internationally — and over-the-counter.

And South Africa’s government said they’ll make locals happy too, by giving them a cut of the profits.

Sound too good to be true? Researchers say the plant, called sceletium tortuosum, has great potential and few downsides.

Ben-Erik Van Wyk, a professor of botany and plant biotechnology at the University of Johannesburg, said he’s extensively researched the plant and found no ill effects or evidence of dependency.

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