Strophanthus kombé – the African Tail Flower.
Strophanthus kombé seed was traditionally used as an arrow poison by African hunters. The active ingredient is a glycoside, which impacts on the nervous system of the prey, effectively killing within minutes. The pharmaceutical industry developed a medicinal drug from the seed, which is used as a heart drug.
Malawi has been the main source for the seed since the discovery of the plant. Traders supplied the seed to the industry since the late 1800s. From this, TreeCrops developed a formalized supply system for the seed material.
The use as a pharmaceutical ingredient is based on the traditional knowledge of the people in Southern Africa. Such knowledge is protected by international treaties, and TreeCrops therefore negotiates with buyers premiums, which are paid to the Zankhalango Association to benefit the collectors and their organisation directly.