|Checking out the blossoms of an aloe vera plant in our boma|
Today I would like to share with you, what little knowledge of the uses of the flora surrounding our Masai home, I have gained from my husband's tribe.
There is a tree called Esisteti which I call the toothbrush tree. Masai do not buy their toothbrushes in shops as we do, but break twigs of this tree which they use to clean their teeth. It prevents bad breath and keeps their teeth beauifully white.
The same tree is also used to cut the famous Masai sticks, with which they herd their cattle or defend themselves if need be.
The bark of this tree is also used as a remedy for stomach ailments.
|The soft leaves of the Olmaroroi tree, or toilet paper tree.|
Aloe vera, Olsukoroi in Maa, grows naturally all around us and is also said to be effective against stomach cramps when boiled up in water, aside from its well-known skin healing properties. It is also what Masai women use to stop their children from nursing when the time has come. Aloe vera sap is incredibly foul-tasting. When rubbing it onto your breasts, the child takes one lick and wants no more. It works - I have used this trick myself on my son Yannik.
Instead of using toilet paper, the Masai use the leaves of a tree which I call - wait for it - toilet paper tree, or in Maa Olmaroroi. The leaves are large and covered in fine soft hairs. A luxury item provided by nature and 100% biodegradable.
The oil-like sap of the Olhilihili tree has antibiotic properties and is used to treat superficial wounds like cuts and grazes.
The fruits of the Oloisuki tree have a pleasant lemon aroma and are used as spice in tea.
|The Oloisuki tree and its fragrant fruits.|
The well-known Ebony tree, famous for its strong black wood, is very common here and used to be a popular tree for fire making before its use was prohibited. It was also used for cleaning out the kibuyu, the dried out pumpkin shells in which the Masai store milk.
Ilshebellek carries edible fruit in August and is excellent smoke-free wood to put on your fire. Its flexible twigs also make great whips to use on the goats and sheep if need be.
The bark of the Olkinaisho tree is boiled up and produces a red broth which is mixed with milk and given to new mothers. It is said to stimulate blood production.
The Ilgom tree produces small round edible fruits in June, with soft brown flesh, similar in taste to apples.
These are but some of the amazing trees and shrubs which produce an array of different fruits, bark and saps. There are plenty more but I will leave it here for today.
Thank you for reading and if there is any one aspect of Masai culture that you would like to hear more about, just drop me a message in the comment box below.