Herbal & Medical Plants in Somalia - Part. 3

Part Two of the report | Prof. Mohamoud Iman Adan- Keydmedia - Virginia, USA - Part three of the report - Herbs and medical plants are the main source of healthy well-being of more than 50% of the Somali population, and in particular, well over 95% of pastoral communities, a society that accounts roughly 70% of the country population who do not live in proximity of urban centers and lack access to medical services and pharmaceutical supplies.
Article Keydmedia Online
Herbal & Medical Plants in Somalia - Part. 3

Based on long standing health tradition, rural communities harvest their pharmaceutical necessities in the fauna they live for life, and part-time pastoral doctors also contribute their free services and dispense needed medicine to the people and their livestock as a way of promoting the healthy aspect of the communities they are part of them. 

By tradition, local pastoral doctors are well-versed about the characteristics of medicinal herbs and pants in the lands and the right dossier to dispense patients.

They know where to go and harvest the exact medical herbs and plants needed at a given the time. Accidental injuries are self-evident and dealt with by treating with certain herbs or plant saps known for their immediate affects. Rural doctors diagnose an ailment of the person or livestock and administer the right prescription that gives unequivocal relief within a given period of time.

They are familiar where to gather certain medical herbs or plant needed at different seasons and location based on terrain characteristics. And they know better medicinal alternatives to switch on when certain herbs are in short supply in a given location in time of need.

Acquiring a vast knowledge of diverse species of herbs and medicinal plants did not come in a few decades, or without physical and mental efforts, and sometimes, to the expenses of sacrificing life and limb. We don’t know how many local doctors have lost their lives while helping patients in desperate medical needs. No one is grateful of the free medical services they had contributed for the wellness of their communities.

We are not even thankful to the vast body of medicinal knowledge they have proven right through trial and errors and finally passing down to us as verified medicinal stock so that we can promote healthy services for our people and their livestock by reinforcing the efforts of pastoral doctors. And, to do more, pastoral doctors are sharpening their hands on experiences and learning every day after.

Chapter 3 will give you a list of some herbs and medicinal plants rural people use on daily basis:

9. Wame-pronounced (wa’mea)
What it is used for?

Like Gogobo in the preceding chapter 2, Wame sap is a therapeutic medicine treated with parasite infected animal skins and hides. Wame has a bulb root the size of an adult person’s head and grows under the shade of other trees. This is a seasonal plant that grows in reddish savannah terrains and its underground bulb matures within 90 days.

During dry months, Wame sheds off its leaves, but the fleshy root remains dormant until it sprout off shoots the next wet season and displaying beautiful red flowers, with pink seeds and sparse leaves. The bulb is treated with gingivitis by feeding Wame root slices to patients three times a day for a week, which is good enough for a thorough treatment.

By tradition, people harvest Wame in the wild, but could be farmed on extensive plantations for commercialization.

10. Likke- pronounced (lea’keah)
What it is used for?

Likke is a seasonal plant considerate to be the top notch medical herb in the country. Its medical part is called DINSI (dry powder recovered from Likke roots) that has multiple therapeutic benefits for rural and urban society alike, and cures: High blood pressure. It controls diabetics and heals maternity pain. Dinsi has immediate healing effects on wounds and swollen parts of the body, as well as being used as generic pain killer.

Likke is a single bulb of about 25-30cm cross-section that shoots from reddish terrain and grows a hollow, four sided stem of 4-6cm thick and a height of 15-20cm above ground level. Unlike ordinary plants, Likke does not grow branches, leaves or flowers, and when the stem welts; it collapses and separates into four sections, like bananas peel.

People harvest the bulb of the Likke about the end of the wet season, cut the bulb into pieces, dry under the sun and crush by reducing it into fine reddish powder used for multiple medical treatments. If Likke bulb is not dug and harvested at the end of the wet season, it wilts and wasted away. Likke could hold promising scientific surprises as it is investigated through scientific research labs, believe the local doctors.

Dinsi is commercialized outside of country, too and gets its way into Somali communities living Diaspora, mainly: EU, USA, Australia, and Europe. In particular, Dinsi compound is exported to traditional markets in the Arab Gulf countries, namely: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, UAE, Qatar and Oman.

Farming Likke for commercialization is cheap and straightforward business. Biologist scientists ought to develop an easy system of seed diversification on a large scale for commercial farming.

11. Dhaddin- pronounced (dha’din)

 What it is used for?

Dhaddin grows in the wild, and through its stem and branches exude important medical resin called Malmal that has multiple medical applications. It yields the resin at the end of the wet season. What it is used for?

Malmal compound is melted into water and taken by mouth or applied a soaked pinch on the affected part of the body as a therapeutic medicine. Its proven medical benefits include: Antibiotic. It controls erotic desires vowed by devout religious people, including puritan Moslems and Christians.

It is used as generic pain reliever; as well a strong healing wounds/swollen parts of the body. However, when former Malmal consumers want to slip back into ordinary sexual life, they drink Hadi resin, just to offset the malmal effect.

Dhaddin is a shady tree that grows in reddish terrains and thrives on scanty rainfall. Dhaddin tree conserves water during the wet seasons and its seedlings have tender, fleshy roots that rural people dug and harvest and chew the juicy sweet roots for quenching during hot, dry days.

Commercializing Dhaddin Resins

Massive Dhaddin plantation is quite viable in Somalia. Seeds are planted and nursed in plant nurseries for a year and planted among other trees for protection in early life. Livestock browse on it. Irrigation system will speed up its growth and the Dhaddin yields malmal within five years.

Dhaddin plantation does not require farm machinery, tilling, fertilizers and harvesting machinery. Cheap rural hands can do planting, supervision and harvesting the malmal gum. Farming Dhaddin is a good way of curbing soil erosion, too.

12. Hadi- pronounced (ha’dee’)
Xabag Hadi (pronounced (ha’bag ha’dee)

Hadi is the medicinal tree and Xabag Hadi is the medicinal resin of the tree.

What it is used for?

The gum or resin of hadi has a brownish color which is dissolved in water and taken by mouth for curing multiple ailments: Controlling diabetes, preventing infections and healing wounds and swollen parts of the body. Curing kidneys and normalizing the life cycle of the reproduction system. Remarkably, Hadi gum reverses sexual dysfunction.

Hadi also treats infected udders of cows and camels that ran dry of milk. The gum has bitter taste and pungent odor. Rural doctors believe that hadi compound can heal known ailment mentioned above within three months of active consumption. Hadi gum is widely consumed by rural and urbanized communities alike; and exported to its tradition markets in the Arab Golf countries, mainly: Yemen, Oman, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Farming Hadi

Like Dhaddin tree, hadi grows on reddish/savannah terrain, tolerates hot, dry weather. It blooms twice a year and survives on scanty rainfall. Hadi grows sparse branches of 2-3m and much depend the depth of the rainfall. Hadi is a long living tree that livestock do not feed on its leaves and has no natural enemies.

Like Dhaddin, Hadi plantation is cheap and easy to manage. Seeds are nursed in nurseries for two years and then planted in rows in bushy terrain for protection. Hadi plantation does not need farm machinery, tilling, fertilizers and harvesting implements.

Cheap pastoral staff can supervise the farm and harvest the gum in due time. Only trawls, plastic bags and short ladders are needed for harvesting the dry gum at the end of the wet season.

With irrigation system in place, Hadi tree may triple its resin yield quota per year. Hadi has no natural enemy. Growing Hadi plantations can also help reduce land desertification.     


Prof. Mohamoud Iman Adan - Keydmedia.net Chief Editor - Virginia, USA - Mohamoud.iman.adan@keydmedia.net

Article 21 May 2021 10:14

I read your article on Foreign Policy with keen eyes and interest. While whining from public officials does not deserve response from any sensible citizen of the Republic of Somalia, I felt compelled to counter false narrative with more objective analysis.