The Heart-Shaped Herb was a plant native to Wakanda that was traditionally consumed by the new King and the heir to the mantle of the Black Panther in order to obtain enhanced physical abilities.
Each Black Panther throughout the generations has consumed the herb once they gain their title, in order to gain enhanced abilities. It's surrounded by ceremonies involving Zuri's children that are partly spiritual, although not necessarily magic, in nature.
Thousands of years ago, a large meteorite composed of Vibranium crashed into Africa, where it gave off massive amounts of radiation, affecting the plant life around it, including the herb. When several tribes began fighting over the Vibranium, the panther God Bast instructed a warrior to ingest the herb, transforming him into the first Black Panther, who united the tribes into the country of Wakanda.
Usage Over the years
Usage of the Heart-Shaped Herbs is seemingly limited to the royal family to allow them to better protect themselves and Wakanda. During the ritual combat in which any tribe or family member may challenge the heir for the throne, the heir must drink a serum to strip away the capabilities of the Heart-Shaped Herbs.
- "But my king, we cannot. This is Wakandan tradition for centuries."
"When I say something needs to get done, I mean that shit."
- ―Erik Killmonger, threatening the Shaman
When Erik Killmonger became King of Wakanda and obtained the powers of the herbs, he ordered the herbs destroyed so no one could use their powers against him. However, Nakia was able to secretly steal one of the herbs before they were all burned.
The heart-shaped herb grants enhanced strength, mobility, stamina, endurance and instincts to those who consume it. There is a preparation able to negate the powers of the herbs, used to allow fair combat trials for the position of both Black Panther and King of Wakanda.
- ↑ These children are part of Zuri's sacred ritual, creating something for the king from a plant unique to Wakanda. “People who read the comics would be familiar with the Heart-Shaped Herb and the ceremonies that surround that,” says Kevin Feige. “That’s partially spiritual. We certainly don’t call it magic, but there’s Vibranium that has been interwoven within that soil and that land for thousands of years, so there are other things going on with it.” - Black Panther trailer decoded: Secrets of the new Marvel movie
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Black Panther