New African Ethnobotanicals

Discussion in 'Ethnobotanicals' started by Alfa, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

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    Jan 14, 2003
    117 y/o from The Netherlands
    I recieved this list with new African ethnobotanicals, which can be ordered in certain smartshops. I'll post sources in the sources forum. Seems like we have got enough to research.​

    African Snuffs :

    Duimpie-snuif / S'Keng-Keng - Pleiospilos bolusii ​

    The name `Duimpie-snuif' literally means finger-snuff; traditionally it is used as a snuff. The pulverised plant is also reported to be an hallucinogenic additive to tobacco to be smoked. Or else it can simply be dried and powdered and used as a snuff. The dosage is small with approximately 50 milligrams of plant chewed producing a feeling of euphoria, which lasts for about 20 minutes; this is followed by sedation.

    Ishongwe - Xysmalobium undulatum ​

    The powdered root is snuffed as a sedative.​

    Lesoko - Alepidea amatymbica​

    The dry rhizome and roots are smoked, or powdered and taken as snuff by diviners and healers to assist in divination and communication with the ancestors. Smoking the roots results in sedation and vivid dreams. The roots are also used as a smoking admixture, and the smoke disguises the smell of whatever it is that is being smoked in conjunction with this admixture. Elderly people powder the dry rhizome and take it as a snuff. The rhizome is carried as a lucky charm, and is also used to ritually wash divining bones. The rhizomes and roots contain high concentrations of several diterpenoids of the kaurene type. The major compounds are dehydrokaurenoic acids and kaurenoic acids, of which ent-16-kauren-19-oic acid is usually present ​

    in the greatest quantity.​

    Muri wa ku bonisa - the herb that makes one see : Casearia gladiiformis
    There is extensive use of plant medicines by the Tsonga tribe. One such shamanic ritual is called the rite of the Gobo basin, in which the initiate has their face submerged into a basin that is filled with water in which certain plants are mixed. The initiate is made to open their eyes which causes visualisation of a red space with black dots in the field of vision. This is done for a long time, and after this is done the initiate is said to have 'crossed the sea.' He has seen everything. It is the herb that makes one see (muri wa ku bonisa).
    The visionary nature of the plants used in this rite are further explained as follows,`The baptism in the calabash has helped him to cross the sea and to reach the land beyond, the land of miracles and of magic powers!´
    Casearia gladiiformis is one of the plants identified to be used in this plant infusion from the Gobo basin.
    Of further ethno-botanical interest is the fact that this same plant is used by the Zulus. They call it `umjuluka' and prepare it by burning the bark to ash and then use this as a snuff.

    Trance inducing herbs :

    Isidala - Dianthus crenatus

    A cold water root infusion is used by diviners to ensure visions and sharpen their divining faculties.

    Nyazangoma - Albizia suluensis

    The Zulu diviners of South Africa use this botanical for trance induction.

    Uqume - Hippobromus pauciflorus

    Zulu diviners use `uqume' to induce a trance state. `Uqume' is also used in an Ubulawu mix. The ingestion of ubulawu plays a fundamental role in the relationship between the diviner and the ancestors and is made by twirling a mixture of ground roots of particular plants with water. Some types are reported to be psychoactive and their use, together with the ritual complex (song and dance), often results in altered states of consciousness with accompanying visionary phenomena such as visions or lucid dreams relating to the ancestors.

    Uvuma-omhlope - Synaptolepis kirkii

    Uvuma-omhlope is used to produce clear vision when entering into a trance. Root infusions are also used in rituals and assist diviners to `see’ in a metaphysical sense.


    Southern African Ethnobotanicals :

    Ibhuma - Typha capensis
    A decoction of the rhizomes is used for venereal diseases or during pregnancy to ensure an easy delivery, and for dysmennorhoea, diarrhoea, dysentery and to enhance male sexual potency and libido. It is also taken to treat unspecified problems related to the genitals, to promote fertility in women, and to improve circulation (it is said to open the veins and increase blood circulation). Decoctions are taken orally or applied externally to promote the expulsion of the placenta. It is said to strengthen uterine contractions. Infusions and decoctions of the rhizome are used as male sexual tonics and to improve the circulation.

    Impendulo - Rubia petiolaris

    Maranga - Albizia adianthifolia
    The Chwabo tribe know it as `maranga'. They use the roots to induce dreams and to enhance memory. The bark is also snuffed.

    Mlahleni - Curtisia dentata
    This important botanical is also traditionally used by the Zulus as an aphrodisiac. The bark is also good for stomach ailments, diarrhoea, and purifying the blood.​

    Nyazangoma - Albizia suluensis ​

    Also see this relating thread: Ubulawu
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
  2. Richard_smoker

    Richard_smoker Gold Member

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    Sep 19, 2005
    from U.S.A.
    Wow... thanks alfa. This is the information that I seek... I have sought--and now, I've found.

    Thank you!

    --in fact, I don't know if i've ever even heard of ONE of these before!(?)--and to think... i thought I knew EVERYTHING! lol
  3. shamantra

    shamantra Newbie

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    Mar 28, 2006
    from norway
    Pleiospilos bolusii contains same chemicals as Kanna I belive and is comparable to kanna. the others i havent heard much or anything about, thanks for the list tho.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2017
  4. StigmataLectron

    StigmataLectron Silver Member

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    Jan 30, 2006
    30 y/o from U.S.A.
    Rockin', a lot of things on here look very interesting and I say they're worth taking closer looks/research at. Now let's place bets on which ones get illegal first! I put my money on Duimpie-snuif, then Ibhuma (since it can be used for sex).
  5. enquirewithin

    enquirewithin Gold Member

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    Dec 11, 2004
    from bermuda
    That looks promising-- it could be place to start.
  6. Smarthead

    Smarthead Gold Member

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    Sep 17, 2004
    from The Netherlands
    Albizia adianthifolia :
    The Chwabo tribe use the roots to induce dreams and to enhance memory.

    Alepidea natalensis :
    The dry rhizome and roots of Alepidea amatymbica are smoked, or powdered and taken as snuff by diviners and healers to assist in divination and communication with the ancestors. Smoking the roots results in sedation and vivid dreams.
    The roots are also used as a smoking admixture, and the smoke disguises the smell of whatever it is that is being smoked in conjunction with this admixture.
    Elderly people powder the dry rhizome and take it as a snuff. The rhizome is carried as a lucky charm, and divining bones are ritually washed with Alepidea rhizomes.
    Alepidea is also used for self-fortification and to ward off evil spirits.

    Guibourtia coleosperma :
    Copalwood is called `gwi’ by the San bushmen.
    Could this be the `gwa' that Trout mentions the root is used (Trout doesn’t know the identity for `gwa’.)
    `Gwa’ is used by the !Kung of the Kalahari to help induce `kia'; an altered state of consciousness considered to be a prerequisite for healing practices.

    Gunnera perpensa :
    Stems and roots are peeled and eaten raw, and also used to make beer.
    Root decoctions are taken for male impotence.

    Justicia odora :
    The root of Justicia flava is chewed for magical purposes in East Africa.
    There are 23 Justicia species native to southern Africa.
    A South American Justicia is believed to be used as an ayahuasca admixture.

    Kigelia Africana :
    The Ndebele from Zimbabwe and males from Venda eat the fruit to increase penis size.

    Leonotis species :
    Leonotis Intermedia (Klip-Dagga),
    Leonotis leonurus (Lion’s Ear),
    Leonotis ocymifolia var ocymifolia,
    Leonotis ocymifolia var raineriana (Wild Dagga).

    Leonotis is traditionally smoked by tribesmen of Southern Africa.

    Maesa lanceolata :
    The bark of Maesa lanceolata is used in cold water infusions (ubulawu) for ancestor communication.
    The Maasai from Kenya use the bark as a stimulant.
    Maesa lanceolata contains triterpenoid saponins.

    Mondia whitei :
    In West Africa, the roots are used to make a very energizing drink for wedding parties; the root can be extracted with alcohol.
    In South Africa, the roots are used to make a refreshing beer, and root infusions also have aphrodisiac properties.

    Pittosporum viridiflorum :
    Root infusions are used for accuracy in divining.
    Roots and bark are also used as aphrodisiacs, and are sometimes added to beer.
    Bark decoctions also have analgesic (pain-killing) and calming effects (sedative).
    Active saponins have been isolated from the plant

    Phyllanthus reticulates :
    Called `potato bush’ because the plant smells of baked potatoes in the afternoon.
    The root-bark is used to ensure visions.
    Froth from rootbark, stirred in water, gives native diviners clear and penetrating vision.
    There’s another interesting Phyllanthus, Phyllanthus flacourtioides.
    The bark is burnt and the ashes are rubbed onto the body as a stimulant and tonic.
    The alkaloid phyllabine has been isolated from the rootbark (Foussard-Blanpin et al. 1967). Phyllabine chloride slightly inhibits monoamine oxidase (MAOI), and stimulates the suprarenal glands, producing secretion of adrenaline (Quevauviller et al. 1965, 1967).

    Rhamnus prinoides :
    The roots are used to enhance narcosis.
    The leaves are used as a stimulant.
    R. prinoides leaves and wood are used to flavor alcoholic beverages in East Africa.
    Quality `tej’ (the name of an Ethiopian drink) is made using equal amounts of `chat’ (Catha edulis) and `hop’ (Rhamnus prinoides). The quality of the tej is said to deteriorate after 8 days, after which time, the tej becomes more sour.
    The leaves of Vernonia amygdalina are sometimes used in the preparation of the local drink, tela in place of gesho (Rhamnus prinoides), and cooked leaves are edible.

    Rhus erosa :
    Unknown parts are used to make a snuff.
    It is also used in rain-making ceremonies.
    Other Rhus’s are used in trance-induction.

    Schinziophyton rautanenii :
    The seed is used in Zimbabwe to facilitate divination.

    Stephania abyssinica :
    Pain-killing (analgesic) and tranquillizing effects are known from the roots.
    The root also has aphrodisiac effects.

    Tarchonanthus camphorates :
    The leaves are smoked for sedative effects.

    Tecomaria capensis :
    Powdered bark relieves pain, is a sedative, and induces sleep.

    Vernonia colorata :
    In Angola it is used as a stimulant.
    Vernonia pauciflora leaves are used as a substitute for cigarettes.

    Watsonia densiflora :
    Flower stalks are used for smoking dagga.
    (The term `dagga' usually refers to cannabis, but `wilde-dagga' or wild-dagga refers to Leonotis leonorus.)

    Annona senegalensis :
    In the Nsanje District of Malawi, Annona senegalensis is used together with three other plants to induce "spirit possession".
    Bioactive ent-kaurene diterpenoids have been isolated from stem-bark of Annona senegalensis; Alepidea also has kaurenes.

    Argyrolobium tomentosum :
    Root infusions are taken by diviners to sharpen their vision.
    The root is also used by the Zulu’s to facilitate divination.

    Balanites maughamii :
    Torchwood bark is put into baths. Bath in water infused with bark is stimulating.

    Brachylaena discolor :
    Roots and stems are used by izangoma (diviners) to communicate with their ancestors.
    A leaf infusion is used as a tonic.
    Onopordopicrin has been isolated from aerial parts (Zdero and Bohlmann, 1987).

    Cissampelos torulosa :
    Leaf enemas are used to induce hallucinations by the Zulu.

    Clematis brachiata :
    Traveler’s joy is a ritual medicine for the Dorobo.
    The leaves are also snuffed.

    Curtisia dentata :
    A red colored bark used for magical purposes. The magical use is kept very secret.
    This important botanical is also traditionally used by the Zulus as an aphrodisiac.

    Delosperma ashtonii :
    Is made into a snuff by the Sotho.

    Dichrostachys cinerea :
    The root is used in East Africa as an aphrodisiac.
    The bark is used for ritual cleansing.
    The Pedi & Lobedu of South Africa use the pods to remove evil spirits.

    Dodonea angustifolia :
    The leaves are used for analgesic effects by traditional healers from Polokwane, South Africa.

    Euclea natalensis :
    The root of `Magic Guarri’ is hypnotic.

    Gossypium anomalum & herbaceum ssp africanum :
    Souleymane draws the attention to the plant of cotton (Gossypium sp., Malvaceae family) as a "first class regulator of the central nervous system (..) it is said to be an ideal mild drug (..) It gives a peaceful euphoria, a calm and light elation". The roots are thought to be the more active part of the plant.
  7. bottlekop

    bottlekop Newbie

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    Mar 26, 2006
    heh, yup. as you might have guessed, snuff is quite popular here. mind you, I has not had any yet...
  8. INodHardOhYeah

    INodHardOhYeah Gold Member

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    Dec 31, 2005
    from U.S.A.
    This site is way too large to post in its entirety, so I'm just going to link to it for anyone interested in African Ethnobotanicals, there is a fair bit of good information, happy scrolling :)
    J.F. Sobiecki
    Department of Anthropology and Development Studies, Rand Afrikaans University
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2017