The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

miscellaneous papers, notebooks and letters on Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower, 1937-1947

caption: charms and medicines
medium: notes
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1937-1946
person: private collection
text: Kapeo. For sprains, strains and aches the leaves of this bush, which is grown near most villages, are soaked in hot water and applied not to the spot, as a fomentation (have had this myself for a twisted knee).
text: Plantain. The leaves of a plantain-tree sprouting from another tree or dead tree-trunk are used in two ways. In one, they are used with a charm to cure hiccups; a cup is made of the leaves, water is put in, the appropriate formula (including invocation of the huluk) is recited, and the sufferer drinks the water. In the other, a man who has used a love-charm uses these leaves as a plate after reciting his spells, instead of the plate from which he usually eats. Several versions of love-charms seem to be known.
text: For indigestion and flatulence, iron is heated in the fire and dowsed in a cup of water, to which is added a little ash and sometimes other ingredients and the sufferer drinks the water.
text: For sudden indigestion, the practitioner pulls gently upwards on a lock of the patient's hair, tweaks his ears upwards, and tells him to spit; this removes the evil spirit causing the trouble.
text: When drinking from a stream or pool a man will put his dao-blades in the water to prevent the spirit of the water seizing on him. A brass finger ring affords similar protection.
text: For fainting, rub the face and body with the ashes of the leaves of an aromatic plant called heluk and those of a tree called pao-heo, mixed, and insert them into ears and nostrils. Small chicken offered at the doorway by a villager, not necessarily a priest, some feathers from under the wing are thrown out for the spirits ("mpao-pui, mpao-peo") and the fowl released. Or, feathers are burnt under the nose if the above procedure is not carried out.