The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga notebook six

caption: medicines for illness and childbirth
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 13.9.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 28.8.1936-26.10.1936
refnum: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (99) Medicine.
text: They have no medicine for leprosy (ngun-ba). For wounds resulting from cuts they apply a mixture of lime, tobacco and pan leaves. For stomach ache they take the bark of a tree called Dzui-bi and grind it and drink it with water. Another medicine for indigestion is Hin-kha, a small leaf which is very bitter. (100) For head ache they have two leaves which grow in the fields, Shang-diu and Aning-ghwang, which they eat with their vegetables. Another for head ache is Beang-bi-le-kha, a small creeper. These medicines are also used for colds.
text: They have only two medicines for cases of difficult delivery, when the child begins to appear they apply a white dust which is found under the leaves of a kind of wild banana and makes (101) things slippery. If a woman is already unconscious they burn chillies and make her smell them - this is said to help. During pregnancy her husband is not allowed to make baskets or to dig out bamboo rats. If labour lasts for two or three days it is held that he must have broken one of these gennas. All baskets in the house are then torn to pieces. (102) No sacrifices are made in cases of difficult labour. Helpers are her mother if alive and other old women of her own clan, but the husband's sisters come too. A young woman who still stays with her parents goes for delivery to her husband's house. It is genna to deliver in one's parent's house.