Monday, January 9, 2012
ϊnsosϊla (gushrϊt’) - one of the miracles in the land of Nature
It’s the ancient Christian Roman theologian, St. Augistine, who said “Miracles are not contrary to nature but contrary to what we know about nature.” I’ve come to believe this even more of late than ever. The early human inhabitants were, hence, to be the first to utilize the organic wealth of the environment…and most likely the foremost to precisely make out each of their functions. Of course, modern science has developed the values of most of these gifts of nature, drawing some sense from the primordial sources (though some of the “new insights” are to be consumed with qualms or murkiness). On the other hand, with nature alone to rely on, the most primitive people’s focus was unfathomable and their understanding profound. Their remedies for illness, the defense mechanism they employ to some sort of alien might, or, for that matter, all their exquisiteness emanate from nowhere but crude nature. For instance, there was evidence that things like plaited seashells and bone necklaces were used as make-ups for their hairs and upper bodies (also, in our day, Ethiopians still make use of cofeebeans jewelry). Today’s piece deals with probably one of the ancient plants used to dye hairs and body parts in Ethiopia -ϊnsosϊla (gushrϊt’) . This art of bodypart-dying kept on improving with time and later became part of the decorative make-up to most brides in the northern part of the country. They stain their fingers and toes at that great ceremony –wedding. Some men also dye their beards in the eastern zone of the country (though for some other reason). The purpose? Well, the utilizers say that in hot weather, ϊnsosϊla (gushrϊt’) acts as a cooling agent when applied to the palms of the hands and the bottoms of the feet. When used in decorative body art, sugar and oil are also added to the mixture to strengthen the color and longevity of design. Although this plant grows in many countries and known by different names, like al-Hinna in Arabic, Mehndi (Indian), Henna (English), its origin is obscure. One of the several fables and the accompanying medieval paintings depict The Queen of Sheba (who was purportedly the then queen of Ethiopia) decorated with ϊnsosϊla (gushrϊt’) on her journey to meet the Biblical Solomon.
Nevertheless, despite the claims of origin, what’s astounding is that even in this 21st century,the appeal of ϊnsosϊla (gushrϊt’) is very significant. This can be seen from the fact that people today are still spellbound with ancient body decoration. Many young, adults, and the old equally beautify their nails, palms and even beards using this ancient plant, ϊnsosϊla (gushrϊt’). Many know the benefit of having their hands and feet dipped in ϊnsosϊla (gushrϊt’) to produce a solid covering, which differs from the common decorative design. The recent ad I saw for ϊnsosϊla (gushrϊt’) was eye-catching – “miracles happen in the land of nature only”. It’s true what the old sage said about natural products “Miracles are not contrary to nature but contrary to what we know about nature.”