By Herbal Healings

Kanna and SSRIs: Exploring Potential Interactions


Welcome to our latest exploration in the world of natural supplements and their interactions with conventional medications. Today, we delve into the intriguing relationship between kanna (Sceletium tortuosum), a traditional South African herb known for its mood-enhancing properties, and SSRIs, a commonly prescribed class of antidepressants.

Understanding Kanna and SSRIs

Kanna, utilized for centuries by indigenous South Africans for its calming and uplifting effects, has caught the attention of modern science for its potential as a natural mood booster. SSRIs, on the other hand, are a cornerstone in the treatment of depression and anxiety, working by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, which can improve mood and reduce anxiety.

The interaction between these two, however, is complex and necessitates a cautious approach. Both kanna and SSRIs influence serotonin levels, albeit through different mechanisms. Kanna contains alkaloids that have been reported to act as serotonin reuptake inhibitors, similar to how SSRIs function, but also interact with other neurotransmitter systems.

The Potential Risks and Considerations

The concurrent use of kanna and SSRIs may lead to an excessive accumulation of serotonin, posing a risk for serotonin syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition characterized by symptoms such as confusion, rapid heart rate, and high blood pressure. It is crucial for individuals taking SSRIs to consult healthcare professionals before introducing kanna or any other supplement into their regimen.

Ongoing Research: Stimulants and Kanna Efficacy

An area of our ongoing research is investigating how stimulant medications, commonly prescribed for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), might affect the efficacy of kanna. There is anecdotal evidence suggesting that stimulants could alter the way individuals experience the effects of kanna, potentially diminishing its mood-enhancing benefits. This is of particular interest because both stimulants and kanna influence the brain's neurotransmitter systems, though in different ways.

Our research aims to shed light on this interaction, with the goal of providing more tailored advice to those looking to combine kanna with their existing medication regimen. Understanding the nuances of how kanna interacts not just with SSRIs but also with stimulants could help individuals make more informed decisions about their mental health treatments.


As we continue to explore the boundaries of natural and conventional medicines, it is essential to approach the combination of treatments like kanna and SSRIs with knowledge and caution. Our ongoing research into the interaction between kanna and stimulant medications represents our commitment to providing accurate, evidence-based information to our community.

Stay tuned for updates on our research findings, and always consult with a healthcare provider before making changes to your treatment plan. Together, we can navigate the complexities of mental health management with informed and thoughtful choices.

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