The Health Benefits of Umcka: Stops Viral and Bacterial Infections
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The Health Benefits of Umcka: Stops Viral and Bacterial Infections

Umcka is an herbal extract that has been shown to work against colds, flu, sinusitis, tonsillitis and antibiotic resistant ear infections. It has shown both antiviral and antibiotic properties in killing both viruses and bacterial infections.

Umcka, also known as Umckaloabo is an herbal extract that has been shown to work against colds, flu, sinusitis, tonsillitis and antibiotic-resistant ear infections. It has shown both antiviral and antibiotic properties in killing both viruses and bacterial infections.

Natural Antiviral Remedies From Plants

There are numerous natural remedies that people take, and everyone seems to have their own favorites that work for them. Umcka is one and elderberry extract, known both as Sambucus and Sambucol, is very popular. Sambucus comes from the elderberry bush. You can read about elderberry extract (Sambucus) in the article Fight the Flu With Sambucus. Some people feel that a remedy cannot work unless it’s an actual medicine prescribed by their doctor. Most of us have now heard of Tamiflu. Large companies and governments are stockpiling Tamiflu for the upcoming flu season. To get Tamiflu you have to have a prescription from your doctor and it works to decrease the severity and duration of the flu. Tamiflu is actually another natural remedy that comes from a plant. The main ingredient in Tamiflu comes from the star anise plant and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for 5,000 years.

History and Discovery of Umckaloabo

Umckaloabo (umcka) comes from the root of the Pelargonium sidoides or South African Geranium, and is native to South Africa. The Zulu culture of Africa have used this herbal remedy for centuries. In 1897, Englishman Charles Stevens contracted pulmonary tuberculosis and left for the warmer climate of South Africa. While there he met a native healer by the name of Mike Kijitse who gave him a traditional cure known as Umckaloabo. When Mr. Stevens returned to England, his doctor pronounced him cured.

The Umcka Studies

In October 2008, the British government Department of Health granted an official license for this herbal remedy to be marketed and sold as a cold and flu medicine in England and carries the brand name of Kaloba. In the United States Umckaloabo is sold as Umcka by Natures Way.

According to NHS Evidence, the Umckaloabo herbal remedy is thought to be effective in the treatment of acute respiratory infections. [1] They reviewed eight random trials with accepted methodologies. Two trials showed that Umckaloabo was effective in relieving all symptoms in adults with acute bronchitis and in particular with cough and sputum production. A third study showed that it was only effective for treating sputum production. The final word with these studies is that the Umcka herbal preparation may be effective in relieving symptoms in acute bronchitis in adults and children, and sinusitis in adults. The common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection caused by a virus.

Another placebo-controlled study with 468 adults with bronchitis received 4.5 ml (milliliter) of the Umcka extract or a placebo for 7 days. Significant differences were found between the two groups, with the Umcka extract group reporting less severity of bronchitis symptoms. At the start of the test, 67% of the participants were unable to work. By day 7 only 16% of the Umckaloabo extract group was unable to work while 43% of the placebo group was still unable to work. [2]

A study with 143 children who had tonsillitis (group A [beta]-hemolytic streptococcus-negative tonsillopharyngitis) were randomly chosen to have 1 ml of the Umckaloabo root extract or the placebo 3 times per day for 6 days. By the fourth day, the Umckaloabo extract group was statistically superior. By the sixth day 81% of the children in the Umcka extract group were able to return to school and only 21% of the children in the placebo group were able to return to school. [3]

How Umcka Works

Studies have suggested that Umckaloabo exhibits both antimicrobial and immunomodulatory effects. Immunomodulatory means it changes the immune system; in this case it would cause the immune system to attack the virus or bacteria cells. Antimicrobial is a substance that inhibits or kills bacteria, viruses and fungi. If in fact the root extract of the Pelargonium sidoides did cure Charles Stevens of pulmonary tuberculosis, that means that Umcka can cure a disease caused by a bacteria, since tuberculosis is caused by bacteria. Studies have shown that Umcka has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and immune-boosting properties.

When boosting the immune system and fighting viruses, Umcka works much like the elderberry extract (Sambucus or Sambucol) as a natural immune booster, preventing the virus cells from replicating and also destroying the virus cells. Boosting the immune system helps the cells become more resistant to viruses.

Where Umcka seems different than elderberry extract is in its ability to destroy infections not only caused by a virus, but also infections caused by bacteria. This is important since a main concern with a cold or flu is that they can turn into a bacterial infection such as pneumonia.

Umcka is also a natural expectorant, helping to eliminate the excess mucus from the sinuses, chest and the entire respiratory tract. By eliminating the excess mucus, it also eliminates a breeding ground for more infection to grow.

Scientists aren’t exactly sure what it is that makes the Pelargonium s. extract exhibit both antiviral and antibacterial properties, but studies are very positive at this time. 

The studies found that Umcka works best when taken within 48 hours of the start of the cold or flu. The sooner the person takes the extract, the better it works.

Umcka Safety

There have not been any negative side effects from the Umcka extract except an occasional allergy if the person is allergic to plants in this family. There are no known supplement or food interactions. There has not been any safety testing in children under 6, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease. Clinical studies have only involved taking this extract no longer than 7 days. This should not be looked at as an alternative to an antibiotic if you are sick for more than 7 days, have a high fever or chest pains.

© 2009 Sam Montana

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[1] NHS Evidence is a web-based service that provides easy access to high quality clinical and non-clinical information about health and social care.

[2] Matthys H, et al. Efficacy and safety of an extract of Pelargonium sidoides (EPs 7630) in adults with acute bronchitis. A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Phytomedicine. 2003;10(suppl 4):7-17.

[3] Bereznoy VV, Riley DS, Wassmer G, Heger M. Efficacy of extract of Pelargonium sidoides in children with acute non-group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus tonsillopharyngitis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Altern Ther Health Med. 2003;9:68-79.

History of Stevens Cure - A Secret Remedy

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Comments (20)

Wow, outstanding, very well presented and researched! I learned so much from this read, great job!

Very interesting article.

this is so interesting thanks so much

Looking at Natures Way Umcka, they have numerous choices. Look at the ingredients if you buy this. They have a Cold + Flu product that has the Pelargonium sidoides plus some other herbs in it as well and it tells you what each herb is for. The Natures Way Umcka ColdCare products have just the Pelargonium sidoides extract in it. I did buy the ColdCare cherry flavored syrup today and took some. Just to make sure I wasnt allergic to that plant group. And no problems at all. I will put it in the fridge now, hopefully I wont need it.

Like your husband, colds and flu usually settle in my chest and with this new flu that concerns me. I have not come across anything that mentioned taking both Sambucus and Umcka at the same time. A nutritionist at the health food store said she hasn’t either, she did say she wouldn’t want to take both at the same time. I have been taking the Sambucus every other day just to build up my immune system. Everything I read about Umcka says it works best the sooner it is taken when you get sick, always within 48 hours. Just as soon as I get that feeling where I think I am about to get sick, I will start taking it. For me, that usually starts with a sore, hoarse throat. I will choose Umcka over Sambucus because Umcka is good for the upper respiratory tract and some of the main studies said Umcka worked for bronchitis. As far as Tamiflu, I don’t expect to even be able to see a doctor within those important 48 hours of feeling and or getting sick. I think everyone is going to be calling his/her doctor with the first signs of flu. Which brings up another question, if someone was taking Sambucus or Umcka and then got to see their doctor and got Tamiflu, what does that do. Everything I read said they found no interaction with either of these with anything else. The best action would be to tell your doctor you also took Sambucus or Umcka before taking the Tamiflu.

Great article Sam. Good research. I always seem to pick up some flu or cold and once even pneumonia at the gym. Makes me wonder about the "healthiness" of exercising at a gym!

The Health Benefits of Umcka: Stops Viral and Bacterial Infections I have never heard of Umcka. Very nice and imformative Darrell

My sister was actually the first person to tell me about this and then I read about it and it sounds impressive. Take it at the first sign of a cold or flu, the sooner the better. I like that it helps the upper respiratory area, when I get sick, that is where it settles and as I get older that worries me. You might also want to look at my vitamin D article, that impresses me as well for boosting the immune system. And as supplements go, it isnt expensive at all. I recently bought 250 gel caps of D3 1000 IU for about $8.


When I went to bed the other day I started feeling something coming on. I was developing body aches, chills and didn't sleep well that night. The next day I went to my local health food for some star anise capsules. I've had good luck in the past with that but they didn't have any. While was looking around I saw Umca Cold+Flu and decided to give it a try. That whole day I felt my symptoms worsening. I took the maximum dosage (5 tsp per day) and slept like a baby that night. The next morning I woke up feeling pretty good. In my case I took Umcka within 12 hours of first feeling my symptoms coming on and it worked quickly. I'll be sure to keep this in my medicine cabinet and in my travel bag. Thanks Natures Way!

Hi Tom, I read that the price of star anise has gone up dramatically in China because the government was telling people to stock up on it for the flu season. Star anise is the main ingredient in Tamiflu. I currently have the flu or something with the chills, aches, stuffy nose and cough. My biggest concern whenever I get something like this is getting pneumonia. I started taking Umcka the minute I felt bad and I already feel better today. Something I have noticed is that the chest and cough aren’t bad at all. I really believe that Umcka does help the upper respiratory system during these colds and flu. I can tell already that this won’t last as long as it normally would have because of the Umcka.


I got the Umcka Cold Care for my 2 year old yesterday and after ONE dose I could see a difference!! I usually get her the Eldertussin, made from Elderberries...but the lady at the Herb Shoppe recommended this. I'm glad she did! I can tell thsi is working much faster and better. With herbs there is *usually* no danger of taking them together. I also give my daughter ALJ made by Nature's Sunshine for her allergies. But anyway, great article!

doyle hitchcock

my wife has COPD an i would like to know if you or your company has come across ANYTHING that will help

please i need to know

thank you

Doyle, I do not know much about COPD. I have read that taking vitamin D supplements help with COPD. Also, staying away from food that causes mucus to build up in the body can help. Dairy products are known to causes mucus to become thicker in the body. Spicy foods like peppers and foods like celery can eliminate excess mucus in the body, I have an article on here about a low sodium vegetable soup recipe, the vegetables in the soup include celery. Here is my article about vitamin d that mentions this. Here is the soup recipe -


I'm a first time user and had some doubts, but I have touched little of the usual stuff because this has relieve all the symptoms I've had except low energy. but I am happy with the results and I will use it again, and recommend it.

Doyle, I hope you are still following replies here. I did continue to look for supplements that could help with COPD, and I did find a supplement that looks promising for COPD. It is called N-Acetyl Cysteine or NAC. I just wrote an article about NAC and you can read it at

Wow, have never heard of this! Thanks for the great info.

I have been diagnosed with MAC disease and am trying to treat it in a natural way. Has anyone had any experience in using Umcka to treat MAC? Thank you for your comments.
Diana Hovey -- I am having trouble leaving the reply here. Please go to my main blog, an article about NAC, at the bottom of the article, I left you a reply to your question. This is the blogs address ----
Mr. Montana, I cannot find your comment on the web site that you gave me yesterday. Can you email me at My question was whether umckaloaho would help MAC disease. Thanks so much!
Diane - Try this link to read the reply I left for you, the reply is at the bottom of the article -