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Sausage tree demystified

By Titus Kakembo

Added 25th April 2017 01:02 PM

Also known by its scientific name 'Kigelia Africana', it is known to heal diabetes among the other ailments

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A convert to herbal medicines muses about the sausage tree fruit in Kidepo Valley National Park. Photo by Titus Kakembo

Also known by its scientific name 'Kigelia Africana', it is known to heal diabetes among the other ailments

The sausage tree was planted at Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC) in Entebbe only last month.

The tall and smooth tree’s existence has however for generations been exploited for its medicinal qualities and enjoyed the legendary tales repackaged to suit current generations.

“Until recently the Karimojong depended more on herbal medicines in their midst,” said David Illukor, a Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) ranger.

“For skin diseases there was a hot spring where people bathed and healed. But the benefit of the Sausage tree was a secret among mothers and elderly men,” he said.

It was an unwritten law followed to the dot that any newly born baby boy would be taken to the tree and its mother or auntie would say some choice words.

“Sausage trees grow as your age mate grows,” a loving caretaker would tell the fruiting tree while fondly clutching the baby.

The tree’s leaves would whisper back as the wind rustled its leaves.

“But heed though. Never consume it fresh because it is very poisonous. Some people here use it to ferment beer which is very fast in getting to the head” Illukor added.

Shy men have been known to get the guts to propose to the women they admire and compose poetic phrases to win over even the most negative target.

 tourist snapping a sausage tree in idepo alley ational ark hoto by itus akemboA tourist snapping a sausage tree in Kidepo Valley National Park. Photo by Titus Kakembo

UWEC herbalist Richard Othieno says the scientific name of the new tree at UWEC, is Kigelia Africana and it is known to heal diabetes among the other ailments.

“It’s smell is not very good for the human nose and it attracts bats, baboons, birds and bush pigs in big numbers,” says Othieno.

“The name sausage tree comes from the shape of its grey fruit that swells up to more than 6kgs while attached to the tree on rope like stalks” he adds.

Othieno says the pods are used for religious functions and as fetishes in different tribes. Others pound the seed to powder after drying it.

The content is used by women to make their skins as smooth as calabashes.

“But it also cures headache, malaria, syphilis, spleen infections and gets gasses out of the system,” says Othieno.

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