African dream herb

1 min read
African dream herb Blog Image


A dying traditional game, given a fresh lease of life at the ongoing Karbi Youth Festival (KYF) in central Assam’s Karbi Anglong district, has fuelled a drive for conserving a creeper known as the African dream herb.

About African dream herb

  • A perennial climbing vine that is used by African traditional healers to induce vivid dreams that enables them to communicate efficiently with their ancestors.
  • Common names: Giant sea bean, African dream herb, snuff box and Entada rheedii
  • Distribution and habitat: It is indigenous to Africa, Asia, Australia and Madagascar. It grows in tropical lowlands, along the coastline and river banks, in woodland, thickets and riverine rain forests.
  • Uses
    • A paste made from the leaves, bark and roots is used to clean wounds, treat burns and heal jaundice in children.
    • Tea made from the whole plant is used to improve blood circulation to the brain and heal the after-effects of a stroke.
    • The bark is used to treat diarrhoea, dysentery and parasitic infections.
  • This creeper yields a dark brown and spherical seed, almost the size of a human patella or kneecap, used to play ‘Hambi Kepathu’. Associated with the origin of the Karbi community.

What is Hambi Kepathu?

  • It is also known as Simrit in some parts of Karbi Anglong, is played on three rectangular courts by two teams comprising three members each.
  • Each member of a team has to place a ‘hambi’, or the glazed creeper seed, vertically on the midpoint of the boundary line of his court for a player of the rival team to hit with his ‘hambi’.
  • Hambi Kepathu, whose name is derived from the first syllables of the names of a Karbi sister-brother duo, is a male-only game like other traditional Karbi games such as ‘Pholong’ (spinning top), ‘Thengtom Langvek’ (torch swimming), and ‘Kengdongdang’ (bamboo stilt race).

Q1) What is Jaundice?

It is a condition produced when excess amounts of bilirubin circulating in the bloodstream dissolve in the subcutaneous fat (the layer of fat just beneath the skin), causing a yellowish appearance of the skin and the whites of the eyes.

Source: In Assam, creeper conservation rides revived Karbi traditional game