Wednesday, 11 December 2013


The Swahili hat 

The Swahili hat is a kind of hat worn by men of all age, in Lamu is called Kofia ya zito because the flowers are very small.  The flowers are done in a form of embroidery by using hand with a small needle.

Different Islamic countries in the world have different designs of hats, the Arabia countries make the embroidery work using machine.

Every hat has a name, people can identify the kinds of hats by names.
Example of Kofia

Uddy (Old Swahili Air freshener)
Small sticks are uddy

Uddy is the old Swahili air freshener;  it was used to give fresh perfume air  in the house, to perfume the cloths and hair for women.

Uddy is used by both men and women (married). Prophet Mohammad (S.W) used uddy to perfume his cloths and also during prayers. Uddy became sunna to Muslims because it was used by the Prophet Muhammad (S.W).  
It is not only used by the Swahili but also by all the Muslims in the world.

Different countries have different ways of making Uddy, but the uses are the same. Uddy is a solid perfume substance that is burnt to produce perfumed smock, the perfume smock is then used to perfume the cloths.



Tuesday, 10 December 2013


The Abaluhya Viagra

 Scientific name- Mondia whytei
Omugombera –Local Name
Mondia Whytei – Scientific Name

African White Ginger – Common Name

Mondia whytei is an aromatic plant of the Periplocacea family. It is a woody climber with large tuberous root stock which is widely distributed in Tropical Africa. In Kenya it’s mainly found in the Equatorial rainforest of Kakamega (the only of its kind in East and Central Africa). Their leaves are large, soft hairy and take the shape of the heart.
The roots are yellow and strongly aromatic which exude white latex. The roots may spread out just beneath the ground surface covering large areas. The fleshy bark of the narrow root is eaten as an appetizer when raw or occasionally in the dried state because of its good taste. It freshens the mouth and others chew it for pleasure. At first, the roots tastes rather hot and bitter later it tastes sweet, leaving a persistent spicy taste in the mouth which is easily recognized.
Various plants have been used in folk medicines of different cultures to treat male infertility problem. 
Some of them have been identified pharmacologically, allowing for understanding of their mechanisms of action but most of these plants have not been scientifically investigated in order to test and substantiate their claimed properties. Omugombera has been used as a traditional cure for male infertility problems for a very long time, unlike other medicinal plants used for the treatment of male infertility.

The roots are traditionally used as either aphrodisiacs or for the treatment of urinary tract infection, jaundice and headache while the whole plant is used in the treatment of diarrhoea. Men eat the barks or drink the aqueous extract of mondia whytei to help increase potency in order to allow erection to occur. It acts the same way Sildenafil (Viagra) drug acts which is an oral drug for men with erectile dysfunction which produces satisfactory erections and improves sexual satisfaction.

Mondia Whytei has been reported to have the ability to increase testosterone production or relax Corpus Cavernosum tissue, but by also enhancing human sperm function. It also causes profuse urination when used as a way of removing toxics in the body. Apart from men, culturally it is believed women use it to help in the contraction of the womb after delivery. Before one sets out to perform a difficult task, the roots are chewed for good luck. Above all, it is a major income earner to most youth in the Western part of Kenya who sells the drug/food to other regions of the country. Research has shown that, there is enough scientific evidence supporting the use of Mondia Whytei as an aphrodisiac and testimonies from people who have used the plant.

Contributor: Emmy Makokha, 
                      Librarian Kitale Museum