Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/88

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78 Some Notes on East Af^'ican Folklore.

other properties — to produce sterility. This, if true, is curious, since Pokomo men chew the leaves (which have a peculiar taste — sweet, very pungent and slightly bitter) with the opposite intention. (The plant is called vidanda in Pokomo.)

For convulsions, children are bathed in an infusion of the roots of a yellow-flowered shrub called nimcka-uvimdo (or mtokawazukd), which springs up on rubbish-heaps in old gardens, etc.

A black substance called vizuuiai, said to be cast up by the sea in Arabia, is also supposed to be good for the eyes — not as a remedy for any special affection, but to strengthen and "comfort" on general principles. Beads made of it are highly esteemed for rosaries {tasbihi), which are held in the hand and pressed against the eyes when they feel tired. A piece of the raw nizumai in my possession is more like a twig of fossil wood than anything else. — Another extra- ordinary remedy is a marine product called kiiigivam — it looks like a branch of some sort of coralline — which gives relief if a fish-bone is stuck in your throat ; you look fixedly at it, and the bone gradually gets loose and goes down. I suppose it is conceivable that, by taking off the sufferer's attention, this might facilitate relaxation of the throat muscles and so give relief. — The efficacy of amber {kaharabu) is no doubt an idea derived from Arabia. Amber beads rubbed in the hands are said to be very good for the skin, especially if chapped or cracked ; this must be distin- guished from ambergris {ambari), which, among other things, benefits emaciated people whose food does not nourish them. They drink it dissolved in hot milk, but one must be careful to put in only very minute doses, or the patient will speedily reach the proportions of a Daniel Lambert.

Here I must bring these notes to a close, as it would be impossible to exhaust the material available without extending them to an undue length.

A. Werner.