Cassia butter tree. [photo/First-Eye]
In science, the above tree is referred to as Senna Didymobotrya. The tree for years has been used by Kalenjin community in preparing the famous traditional "Mursik" and for solving other health problem among the members of the community and hence fitting its name 'Magic tree'.
The tree is normally used by kalenjin women during preparation of 'Mursik'. It is the reason for the black spots in fermented milk,normally used in welcoming at athletes after coming from abroad.
To add the tree into milk, women first cut its dry branches then burning them in fire. The partly burned stem then makes charcoal which is crashed using a special tree before being added to boiled milk in calabash used for making the delicacy.
Among majority of Kalenjin, absence of the black spots in Mursik makes the fermented milk lose its value. Majority claims that the tree adds flavor to the milk.
Cassia butter tree, otherwise known as 'Itet' or 'Senetwet' among Kalenjin has many proven health benefits apart from being used in making 'Mursik' delicacies.
In a study done by Jomo Kenyatta University Of Agriculture and Technology in 1989 in conjunction with Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, it was proven that the products from the stem of he tree inhibits micro-organisms. As such, it could be used for preservation purposes.
When interviewed by Nation in 2011, Kabarak University lecturer, Ms Birir noted that apart from adding flavor to Mursik, the tree had proven medicinal value.
Here are some other health benefits of the wild Cassia butter despite not being seriously tapped as indicated by health researchers;
The leaves of the tree are used by Kalenjin community to treat Ringworms.
Among many other African communities, the tree leave's decoction is used for treating stomach pains.
Fresh roots and leaves of the tree can be used to treat abscesses of Skeletal muscles and other vereal diseases.
It has been indicated that the tree can too be used to treat fungal and bacterial diseases, hypertension and sickle cell anaemia.
In a research done by Kenya Agricultural Research Institute in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and some parts of DRC in 2007, it was found out that leaves and boiled roots are used by some communities for treatment of malaria and other fevers.
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